USGS briefs congress about groundwater vulnerability to contamination

TCE distribution

Example of the Vega Alta aquifer. Models developed by PROTECT researchers adequately simulate the spatial distribution and high-resolution temporal variation of groundwater levels and the variation of trichloroethylene plume over two decades within Vega Alta karst aquifer. The occurrence of preferential flow influences the flow conditions and leads to irregular spreading of trichloroethylene plume in the aquifer

Groundwater is a valuable source of drinking water for approximately 130 million people in United States.  However, natural and human activities have been resulting in high concentrations of certain chemicals in groundwater that can affect human health.

The United States Geological Survey or USGS released new findings on groundwater contamination at the Congressional Briefing “Our Nation’s Groundwater – an Invisible and Vital Resource” held on March 6th 2015. USGS described the concentration and distribution of contaminants in groundwater as well as the impacts of geological and human sources on U.S. groundwater quality. USGS described how contaminant source, geology, climate, hydrogeology and geochemistry influence contaminants occurrence and transport in groundwater. The briefing presented how models are being used to predict contaminant concentrations in unmonitored areas and inform water-resource management decisions.

More about the groundwater quality in the U.S. can be found in Water Quality in Principal Aquifers of the United States, 1991–2010.

 

 

Speakers: Dr. Michael Goff, President at Northeast-Midwest Institute; Dr. Patrick Leahy, Executive Director at American Geological Institute; and Dr. Barbara Mahler, research hydrologist and scientist for the National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program at USGS. Dr Mahler is an expert in sediment transport, geology, hydrogeology and geochemistry of karst aquifers.