The first step in the road to understanding the fate of a contaminant is determining if
contamination is actually taking place.
Emerging Chemical Contaminants
An important component of emerging contaminant research is to determine the environmental occurrence by answering the fundamental questions: What compounds enter the environment? How often and at what levels do they occur? In what mixtures do they occur?
These questions are addressed by field reconnaissance studies at national, regional, and local scales.
- National-scale research
- Local-, State-, and Regional-scale research
Emerging Microbial Contaminants
There is no question that bacterial pathogens, viruses, and protozoa, and antibiotic-resistant bacteria can enter the environment. The source of these contaminants is generally fecal contamination through release of human and animal wastes to the environment. However, little is known about the actual occurrence of specific microbial pathogens in the environment, or their relation to traditional microbiological water quality criteria. This project investigates the occurrence of selected bacterial pathogens in water at the national and watershed scales, determines their potential for virulence and antibiotic resistance by examining the occurrence of genes for these traits, and relates findings to microbial water quality criteria and to chemical measures of water quality, including the occurrence of emerging chemical contaminants.
Related Science Features
- Challenges for mapping cyanotoxin patterns from remote sensing of cyanobacteria: Stumpf, R.P., Davis, T.W., Wynne, T.T., Graham, J.L., Loftin, K.A., Johengen, T.H., Gossiaux, D., Palladino, D., and Burtner, A., Harmful Algae (IN PRESS).
- EPA, NASA, NOAA, and USGS collaborate to develop a Cyanobacteria Assessment Network (CyAN): Schaeffer, B.A., Loftin, K.A., Stumpf, R.P., and Werdell, P.J., EOS, Transactions of the American Geophysical Union (IN PRESS).
- Total cylindrospermopsins, microcystins/nodularins, and saxitoxins data for the 2007 United States Environmental Protection Agency National Lake Assessment: Loftin, K.A., Dietze, J.E., Meyer, M.T., Graham, J.L., Ziegler, A.C., Maksimowicz, M.M., and Toyne, K.D., U.S. Geological Survey Data Series (IN PRESS).
- Spatial and temporal variation in microcystins occurrence in wadeable streams in the southeastern USA: Loftin, K.A., Clark, J.M., Journey, C.A., Kolpin, D.W., Van Metre, P.C., and Bradley, P.M., 2016, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, v. 35, doi:10.1002/etc.3391 (Advanced Web release).
- Concentrations of hormones, pharmaceuticals and other micropollutants in groundwater affected by septic systems in New England and New York: Phillips, P.J., Schubert, C., Argue, D., Fisher, I., Furlong, E.T., Foreman, W., Gray, J., and Chalmers, A., 2015, Science of the Total Environment, v. 512-513, p. 43-54, doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.12.067.
- Endocrine disrupting alkylphenolic chemicals and other contaminants in wastewater treatment plant effluents, urban streams, and fish in the Great Lakes and upper Mississippi River regions: Barber, L.B., Loyo-Rosales, J.E., Rice, C.P., Minarik, T.A., and Oskouie, A.K., 2015, Science of the Total Environment, v. 517, p. 195-206, doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.02.035.