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Emerging Contaminants in the Environment

USGS scientist collecting a sample of algae from Binder Lake, IA - Date 08-08-06 - Jennifer Graham
Dripping algae leaves an impact — A USGS scientist collecting a sample of algae for analysis during a study of the effects of harmful algal blooms on lake water quality. The divots left from the algae dripping from the sampler shows how thick these accumulations can be. Microcystis sp. dominated this accumulation at Binder Lake, Iowa.

USGS scientist in a laboratory preparing water samples for bacterial DNA analysis.
USGS scientists use a variety of microbiological and chemical methods to evaluate the microbiological quality of water. In this photo, a USGS scientist prepares to analyze bacterial DNA extracted from water samples.

A conceptual diagram of the setup of the subsurface tracer test.
A conceptual diagram of the setup of the subsurface tracer test. A solution of bromide (conservative tracer), 17ß-estradiol, 4-nonylphenol, and sulfamethoxazole was injected into the subsurface. A series of corresponding water samples were collected from the multilevel sampler down gradient of the injection well.

USGS scientist holding a dissolved oxygen probe in the water of Fourmile Creek, Iowa.
USGS scientist determining if enough dissolved oxygen is present for biodegradation of hormones in Fourmile Creek, Iowa. A team of scientists demonstrated there is a significant potential for the biodegradation of three hormones, estrone, 17ß-estradiol, and testosterone, in the bottom sediments of streams that received wastewater from sewage treatment plants.

USGS scientist removing the brain from a white sucker fish.
USGS scientist removing the brain from a fish (a white sucker) collected from Fourmile Creek near Ankeny, Iowa. The scientists tested the fish's brain for the presence of antidepressant drugs. Traces of antidepressant drugs were found in fish and also in the water from Fourmile Creek.

USGS hydrologic technicians collecting a water-quality sample from Hallocks Mill Brook, NY.
USGS hydrologic technicians collecting a water sample from Hallocks Mill Brook downstream of the outfall of a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). The technicians collected the sample as part of an investigation of the occurrence of pharmaceuticals in WWTP effluents that receive wastewater from pharmaceutical formulation facilities.

USGS scientists processing samples of combined sewer overflow water collected after a storm.
USGS scientists processing samples of combined sewer overflow (CSO) water collected after a storm. The samples were analyzed for selected wastewater-related chemicals as part of a study to determine if CSOs increase or decrease the occurrence of wastewater-related chemicals in receiving waters.

A map showing network of 139 streams sampling locations across 30 states.
During the National Stream Reconnaissance for Emerging Contaminants Project USGS scientists collected water samples from a network of 139 streams across 30 states during 1999 and 2000.

Croton Dam, New York, part of the New York City water supply system.
The USGS collected water samples from 11 stream sites in the Croton Watershed (a drinking-water resource for New York City) during 2000 for the National Stream Reconnaissance for Emerging Contaminants Project.

USGS hydraulic technician collecting a water sample from the Jordan River, UT.
USGS hydraulic technician collecting a water sample from the Jordan River, Utah, for the National Stream Reconnaissance for Emerging Contaminants Project.

Downstream view of the Little Arkansas River near Sedqwick, KS.
Downstream view of the Little Arkansas River near Sedqwick, KS, where sediment and water samples were collected for an Emerging Contaminants Investigation.

Photo of the North Branch Boardman River, MI.
This location on the North Branch Boardman River, MI, was used to represent “background” conditions (theoretical uncontaminated conditions) for the National Stream Reconnaissance for Emerging Contaminants Project.

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