The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Toxic Substances Hydrology (Toxics) Program develops approaches and methods for the study and characterization of the occurrence, fate, transport, and effects of contaminants in the environment. Approaches include:
- Multidisciplinary approaches to evaluating and monitoring the natural attenuation of contaminants in the subsurface
- The innovative use of trace contaminants as flow-path tracers or source indicators that enhance water-resources investigations--for example, the use of chloroflurocarbons to determine the age of ground water, or of gadolinium (a rare earth element) to determine the presence of wastewaters in streams
- A tool box approach to characterizing contamination in fractured-rock aquifers that combines hydrologic, geophysical, and chemical methods
- Injecting tracers into streams to determine the major sources of contamination within a watershed
The information presented on this page cuts across boundaries of the Toxics Program's individual investigations and projects so that information on the development of approaches used to study contamination issues can be presented in one place.
Investigations and Research Activities
Vapor sampling using a peristaltic pump and gas-tight syringe to collect data on concentration reaction products above a naturally degrading plume of gasoline at the Galloway Site, NJ. The data is then used to estimate site-wide natural-attenuation rates through the use of a numerical model.
USGS scientists and their partners have combined hydrological, chemical, and microbiological methods to develop a unique approach for evaluating the capacity for natural attenuation at environmental contaminant sites. Here a USGS scientist is collecting water samples anaerobically in a glove bag at the Norman Landfill Research Site, Oklahoma.
Science Feature Articles
USGS scientists collecting water samples from discrete fractures with the BAT3 at the University of Connecticut Landfill Study Area, Storrs, CT. On the table is the equipment used to control the BAT3. The BAT3 is one of many tools used to study the flow and transport of contaminants in fractured rock.