Understanding the geochemical and microbiological processes that control the migration, shape, and size of contaminant plumes is key to developing cost-effective remediation plans. Many USGS Toxic Substances Hydrology (Toxics) Program scientists have studied a variety of contaminant plumes with the goal of understanding in a holistic sense how contaminant plumes interact with ground water, microorganisms, and aquifer materials. The information presented on this page cuts across lines drawn by individual investigations and projects so that information on the contaminant plume geochemistry and microbiology can be presented in one place.
Investigations and Research Activities
- Sewage-Contaminated Ground Water, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
- Crude Oil Contamination in the Shallow Subsurface, Bemidji, Minnesota
- Processes Affecting the Natural Attenuation of Fuel Oxygenates in Ground Water Fuel, Laurel Bay, South Carolina
- Fate of Landfill Leachate, Norman Municipal Landfill, Norman, Oklahoma
- USGS Reston Biogeochemical Processes in Groundwater Laboratory, Long-term investigations on the fate and geochemical effects of organic contaminants in subsurface environments
- Microbiology and Molecular Ecology of Biogeochemical Cycles in Aquatic Environments
- Multiphase Contaminant Transport, Reaction And Biodegradation
- Bacteria - Contaminant Interactions
- Comparative Study of Organic Degradation in Selected Hydrologic Environments
- Transport and Biogeochemical Fate of Organic Substances in Aquatic Environments
- Hydrogeochemical and Microbiological Investigations of Radionuclides, Nutrients, and Environmental Contaminants.
- Geochemical Studies at the Norman Landfill
- Kinetics and Thermodynamics of Chemical Evolution in Ground-Water Systems
- Partitioning of Solutes between Solid and Aqueous Phases
- Fate of Organic Chemicals in Subsurface Environments
- Biogeochemistry of Carbon and Nitrogen in Aquatic Environments
A handful of sand from aquifer sediments on western Cape Cod, MA. The surfaces of these quartz grains are covered by coatings containing iron and aluminum oxides and silicates. Arsenic in the coatings can be released by changes in chemical conditions caused by contaminant plumes such as the plume of treated sewage that is the subject of the Toxic Substances Hydrology Program's investigation on Cape Cod.
Geochemical zones in the plume of dissolved constituents at the Bemidji Crude Oil Spill Site, Minnesota.
Science Feature Articles
- Anoxic nitrate reduction coupled with iron oxidation and attenuation of dissolved arsenic and phosphate in a sand and gravel aquifer: Smith, R.L., Kent, D.B., Repert, D.A., and Böhlke, J.K., 2017, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, v. 196, p. 102-120, doi:10.1016/j.gca.2016.09.025.
- Geochemical and hydrologic factors controlling subsurface transport of poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances, Cape Cod, Massachusetts: Weber, A.K., Barber, L.B., LeBlanc, D.R., Sunderland, E.M., and Vecitis, C.D., 2017, Environmental Science and Technology, doi:10.1021/acs.est.6b05573.
Sampling redox-sensitive water-quality parameters on-site at the Norman Landfill, Norman, Oklahoma .