Experienced personnel use proven field methodologies
that enable representative environmental samples to be collected.
USGS scientists collecting water samples from a well in the well network for the National Groundwater Reconnaissance for Emerging Contaminants.
USGS scientists sampling ground water from a well installed at a beach as part of a study of bacterial contamination at beaches.
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
- Occurrence and in vitro bioactivity of estrogen, androgen, and glucocorticoid compounds in a nationwide screen of United States stream waters: Conley, J.M., Evans, N., Cardon, M.C., Rosenblum, L., Iwanowicz, L.R., Hartig, P.C., Schenck, K.M., Bradley, P.M., and Wilson, V.S., Environmental Science and Technology, doi:10.1021/acs.est.6b06515 (Advanced Web release) (IN PRESS).
- Expanded target-chemical analysis reveals extensive mixed-organic-contaminant exposure in U.S. streams: Bradley, P.M., Journey, C.A., Romanok, K.M., Barber, L.B., Buxton, H.T., Foreman, W.T., Furlong, E.T., Glassmeyer, S.T., Hladik, M.L., Iwanowicz, L.R., Jones, D.K., Kolpin, D.W., Kuivila, K.M., Loftin, K.A., Mills, M.A., Meyer, M.T., Orlando, J.L., Reilly, T.J., Smalling, K.L., and Villeneuve, D.L., 2017, Environmental Science and Technology, v. 51, no. 9, p. 4792-4802, doi:10.1021/acs.est.7b00012.
- Nationwide reconnaissance of contaminants of emerging concern in source and treated drinking waters of the United States--Pharmaceuticals: Furlong, E.T., Batt, A.L., Glassmeyer, S.T., Noriega, M.C., Kolpin, D.W., Mash, H., and Schenck, K.M., 2017, Science of the Total Environment, v. 579, p. 1629-1642, doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.03.128.
- An introduction to joint research by the USEPA and USGS on contaminants of emerging concern in source and treated drinking waters of the United States: Kolpin, D.W., Glassmeyer, S.T., and Furlong, E.T., 2017, Science of the Total Environment, v. 579, p. 1608-1609, doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.03.052.
- The importance of quality control in validating concentrations of contaminants of emerging concern in source and treated drinking water samples: Batt, A.L., Furlong, E.T., Mash, H.E., Glassmeyer, S.T., and Kolpin, D.W., 2017, Science of the Total Environment, v. 579, p. 1618-1628, doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.02.127.
- Occurrence, temporal variation, and estrogenic burden of five parabens in sewage sludge collected across the United States: Chen, J., Pycke, B.F.G., Brownawell, B.J., Kinney, C.A., Furlong, E.T., Kolpin, D.W., and Halden, R.U., 2017, Science of the Total Environment, v. 593-594, p. 368-374, doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.03.162.
- Nationwide reconnaissance of contaminants of emerging concern in source and treated drinking waters of the United States: Glassmeyer, S.T., Furlong, E.T., Kolpin, D.W., Batt, A.L., Benson, R., Boone, J.S., Conerly, O., Donohue, M.J., King, D.N., Kostich, M.S., Mash, H.E., Pfaller, S.L., Schenck, K.M., Simmons, J.E., Varughese, E.A., Vesper, S.J., Villegas, E.N., and Wilson, V.S., 2017, Science of the Total Environment, v. 581–582, p. 909-922, doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.12.004.
- Human health screening and public health significance of contaminants of emerging concern detected in public water supplies: Benson, R., Conerly, O.D., Sander, W., Batt, A.L., Boone, J.S., Furlong, E.T., Glassmeyer, S.T., Kolpin, D.W., Mash, H.E., Schenck, K.M., and Simmons, J.E., 2017, Science of the Total Environment, v. 579, p. 1643-1648, doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.03.146.
- Rainfall-runoff of anthropogenic waste indicators from agricultural fields applied with municipal biosolids: Gray, J.L., Borch, T., Furlong, E.T., Davis, J., Yager, T.J., Yang, Y.-Y., and Kolpin, D.W., 2017, Science of the Total Environment, v. 580, p. 83-89, doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.03.033.
- Highlighting the complexities of a groundwater pilot study during an avian influenza outbreak--Methods, lessons Learned, and select contaminant results: Hubbard, L.E., Kolpin, D.W., Fields, C.L., Hladik, M.L., and Iwanowicz, L.R., 2017, Environmental Research, v. 158, p. 212-224, doi:10.1016/j.envres.2017.06.010.
- Satellite monitoring of cyanobacterial harmful algal bloom frequency in recreational waters and drinking water sources: Clark, J.M., Schaeffer, B.A., Darling, J.A., Urquhart, E.A., Johnston, J.M., Ignatius, A.R., Myer, M.H., Loftin, K.A., Werdell, P.J., and Stumpf, R.P., 2017, Ecological Indicators, v. 80, p. 84-95, doi:10.1016/j.ecolind.2017.04.046.
- Occurrence of neonicotinoid insecticides in finished drinking water and fate during drinking water treatment: Klarich, K.L., Pflug, N.C., DeWald, E.M., Hladik, M.L., Kolpin, D.W., Cwiertny, D.M., and LeFevre, G.H., 2017, Environmental Science and Technology Letters, v. 4, no. 5, p. 168-173, doi:10.1021/acs.estlett.7b00081.
- Cyanobacteria of the 2016 Lake Okeechobee and Okeechobee Waterway harmful algal bloom: Rosen, B.H., Davis, T.W., Gobler, C.J., Kramer, B.J., and Loftin, K.A., 2017, Open-File Report 2017-1054.