The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Toxic Substances Hydrology (Toxics) Program develops methods to measure a wide range of environmental properties in the field, including:
- Techniques for the collection of water and sediment samples for the analysis of pesticides (and their environmental degradates), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), pharmaceuticals, trace metals, and other contaminants
- Aquifer and tracer tests to determine flow and transport properties in unconsolidated and fractured-rock aquifers
- Novel ways to assess and characterize contamination sites, such as the use of plants to map tritium contamination in the subsurface
- Stream tracers to determine contaminant sources, transport, and dispersal
- Surface and borehole geophysics to identify subsurface properties and flow paths
- Methods to monitor the transport of contaminants and water in the unsaturated zone
The information presented on this page cuts across the boundaries of individual investigations and projects so that information on the application of field methods can be presented in one place.
Investigations and Research Activities
Collecting plant foliage for water extraction by solar distillation, Amargosa Desert Research Site, Nevada.
Sample processing during a stream tracer test at California Gulch, Animas River, CO.
Science Feature Articles
USGS scientists collecting water samples from bedrock fractures with the BAT3 at the University of Connecticut Landfill Study Area, Storrs, CT. The BAT3 is an example of a method developed by the Toxic Substances Hydrology Program that has been applied at many sites.
- Use of stable isotope signatures to determine mercury sources in the Great Lakes: Lepak, R.F., Yin, R., Krabbenhoft, D.P., Ogorek, J.M., DeWild, J.F., Holsen, T.M., and Hurley, J.P., 2015, Environmental Science and Technology Letters, v. 2, no. 12, p. 335-341, doi:10.1021/acs.estlett.5b00277.
- A comparison of thermal infrared to fiber-optic distributed temperature sensing for evaluation of groundwater discharge to surface water: Hare, D.K., Briggs, M.A., Rosenberry, D.O., Boutt, D.F., and Lane, J.W., 2015, Journal of Hydrology, v. 530, p. 153-166, doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2015.09.059 (In Press, Accepted Manuscript).
- On the use of rhodamine WT for the characterization of stream hydrodynamics and transient storage: Runkel, R.L., 2015, Water Resources Research, v. 51, no. 8, p. 6125-6142, doi:10.1002/2015WR017201.
- Imaging pathways in fractured rock using three-dimensional electrical resistivity tomography: Robinson, J., Slater, L., Johnson, T., Shapiro, A., Tiedeman, C., Ntarlagiannis, D., Johnson, C., Day-Lewis, F., Lacombe, P., Imbrigiotta, T., and Lane, J., 2015, Groundwater, doi:10.1111/gwat.12356 (Advanced Web release).