National Water Quality Program

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The National Water Quality Program provides an understanding of water-quality conditions; whether conditions are getting better or worse over time; and how natural features and human activities affect those conditions.

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Featured Study: Strontium in Our Nation's Groundwater

Featured Study: Strontium in Our Nation

Got strontium? A new USGS study reports that about 2.3 percent of drinking-water wells in the U.S. have concentrations of strontium at levels that present a potential human health risk. These wells provide water for an estimated 2.3 million people.

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Featured Study: Predicting pH in the Glacial Aquifer System

Featured Study: Predicting pH in the Glacial Aquifer System

A new 3-D model predicts pH in groundwater at all depths across the 25-state span of the glacial aquifer system, reports an article by the USGS. The glacial aquifer system provides more water for domestic and public supply than any other US aquifer.

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News

Date published: January 21, 2021

Strontium in U.S. Groundwater Used for Drinking-Water Source

A new USGS study reports that about 2.3 percent of drinking-water wells in the U.S. have concentrations of strontium at levels that present a potential human health risk. These wells provide water for an estimated 2.3 million people.

Date published: January 19, 2021

New 3-D models predict pH conditions throughout the glacial aquifer system

A new 3-D model predicts pH in groundwater at all depths across the 25-state span of the glacial aquifer system, reports an article by the USGS. The glacial aquifer system provides more water—about 2.6 billion gallons per day—for domestic and public supplies than any other aquifer in the United States.

Date published: January 4, 2021

New USGS study identifies key factors affecting nitrate concentrations in stream base flow in Chesapeake Bay watershed

A new USGS study has identified factors that contribute to high nitrate in base flow in streams flowing into Chesapeake Bay. Land use, organic carbon in soils, and geology were among the most important factors affecting nitrate in stream base flow, based on data collected at 156 stream sites.

Publications

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Year Published: 2020

Pesticide mixtures show potential toxicity to aquatic life in U.S. streams, water years 2013-2017

During water years (WY) 2013–2017, the U.S. Geological Survey, National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Project, sampled the National Water Quality Network – Rivers and Streams (NWQN) year-round and reported on 221 pesticides at 72 sites across the United States in agricultural, developed, and mixed land use watersheds. The Pesticide Toxicity...

Covert, S. Alex.; Shoda, Megan E.; Stackpoole, Sarah M.; Stone, Wesley W.

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Year Published: 2019

Hydrocarbons in upland groundwater, Marcellus Shale Region, Northeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New York, USA

Water samples from 50 domestic wells located <1 km (proximal) and >1 km (distal) from shale-gas wells in upland areas of the Marcellus Shale region were analyzed for chemical, isotopic, and groundwater-age tracers. Uplands were targeted because natural mixing with brine and hydrocarbons from deep formations is less common in those areas...

McMahon, Peter B.; Lindsey, Bruce D.; Conlon, Matthew D.; Hunt, Andrew G.; Belitz, Kenneth; Jurgens, Bryant; Varela, Brian

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Year Published: 2019

Estimating domestic well locations and populations served in the contiguous U.S. for years 2000 and 2010

Domestic wells provide drinking water supply for approximately 40 million people in the United States. Knowing the location of these wells, and the populations they serve, is important for identifying heavily used aquifers, locations susceptible to contamination, and populations potentially impacted by poor-quality groundwater. The 1990 census was...

Johnson, Tyler D.; Belitz, Kenneth; Lombard, Melissa