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Environmental Health - Toxic Substances

Investigations

Methods Development and Fundamental Research

Program scientists conduct additional research not connected directly to the aforementioned field studies. They develop knowledge and methods for the collection, analysis, and interpretation related to contamination in the hydrologic cycle. New simulation and statistical modeling tools, new methods for field and laboratory measurements of a wide range of environmental properties are developed. These tools are developed at the Programs field sites and using field data, but are applicable to a wide range of hydrogeologic settings and environmental problems. The models are used to predict the persistence and fate of contamination and to design management strategies, including monitoring networks, best management practices, and new techniques for waste disposal and remediation. New environmental-measurement techniques include:

  • Measurement of properties that control contaminant movement in liquid and gas forms in the unsaturated zone above the water table,
  • Surface and borehole geophysics that indicate subsurface properties that control water and contaminant movement,
  • Laboratory measurement of the surface properties of minerals that retard contaminant transport.
  • Measurement of chemical tracers, such as CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons), caffeine, or isotopes that indicate the relative age and source of contaminants,
  • Measurement of the concentration of new commonly used chemicals and their byproducts in environmental samples,
  • Laboratory experiments that estimate rates of microbial degradation, an
  • Determination of the character of organic matter and its role in the formation of contaminants during disinfection of potable water supplies.

More Information

Bibliography of Methods Development Publications
Bibliography of Fundamental Research Publications

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