The Tennessee Water Resources Research Center (TNWRRC) is a federally designated state research institute supported in part by the U.S. Geological Survey. It serves as a primary link among water-resource experts in academia, government, and the private sector, and the diversity of its staff in terms of background and expertise enhances flexibility and positions the Center to establish productive partnerships. TNWRRC is housed within the Institute for a Secure and Sustainable Environment (ISSE) at the University of Tennessee.
Each year, TNWRRC funds projects through the U.S. Geological Survey’s 104b program, established under the Water Resources Research Act of 1984 and implemented by USGS and the National Institute of Water Resources. The application requirements for fiscal year 2021 are contained are here. This document contains: 1) the basic information and instructions for pre-proposals are summarized; 2) state research priorities summarized from agency/organization inputs, and 3) the reviewer’s score sheet. Read more…
The Quality of Our Groundwater—Progress on a National Survey
A U.S. Geological Survey study of groundwater quality across the nation that began in 2013 now includes water-quality information for 18 of the most heavily used aquifers in the nation. In addition to summary fact sheets for 15 principal aquifers previously released, fact sheets are now available for the Edwards-Trinity aquifer system (primarily Texas, parts of Oklahoma and Arkansas), the Stream Valley aquifers in the western U.S. (Arkansas River, Missouri River, and Red River drainages in parts of Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, and Colorado), and the Colorado Plateaus aquifers in the western U.S. (SE Wyoming, E Utah, W Colorado, NW New Mexico, NE Arizona).
Untreated groundwater from nearly 1,300 deep public-supply wells has been sampled from the 18 aquifers. Overall, inorganic constituents with a geologic source—related to the interaction of groundwater and aquifer rocks and sediments—most commonly exceeded human-health benchmarks. Among the aquifers, from 3 to 50 percent of samples contained at least one inorganic constituent that exceeded a benchmark. Those constituents were primarily the trace elements arsenic, fluoride, manganese, and strontium. The most frequent trace element exceedances occurred in the Stream Valley aquifers (37 percent), Rio Grande aquifer system (27 percent), and the Glacial aquifer system (24 percent).
One or more radioactive constituents, which also have geologic sources, exceeded a human-health benchmark in a small percentage of samples (0 to 12 percent) in most of the 18 aquifers studied. The exceptions were the Piedmont and Blue Ridge crystalline-rock aquifers and the Cambrian-Ordovician aquifer system, where exceedances were 30 and 45 percent, respectively. The nutrient nitrate was the only constituent with a manmade source that exceeded the human-health benchmark, typically in a low percentage of samples (0 to 7 percent).
About half of the nation’s population relies on groundwater for drinking water. The U.S. Geological Survey is intensively studying principal aquifers that provide most of the nation’s groundwater pumped for public supply. Water-quality information for three remaining principal aquifers is slated for publication in 2021.
New from USGS:
Chemical mixtures common in small U.S. streams causing concern for aquatic life. Mixtures of organic chemicals are ubiquitous in small U.S. streams, reports a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey. In many streams the mixtures could be affecting stream organisms. USGS scientists collected 3 to 12 water samples from 305 small streams across four major regions (Northeast, Southeast, Pacific Northwest, and Coastal California) of the U.S. as part of the USGS Regional Stream Quality Assessment. The samples were analyzed for 389 organic chemicals comprising pharmaceuticals, pesticides, and wastewater-indicator compounds. Pesticides and pharmaceuticals are designed to have a biological effect. For more information, contact Paul Bradley.
- Bakken Shale unconventional oil and gas production has not caused widespread hydrocarbon contamination to date in groundwater used for water supply A new USGS study reports that shale-oil and -gas production from a major production area in Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota has not caused widespread hydrocarbon contamination to date in nearby aquifer zones used for drinking-water supply.
For more information, contact Pete McMahon, Subject line: Bakken Shale and Groundwater. Data used in the study can be found here.
- New Study: Atrazine concentrations have decreased in streams and rivers across the United States
- New Study: New sampling approach reveals pesticides in streams occur more often and at higher concentrations than previously measured
- New online SPARROW (SPAtially Referenced Regression On Watershed attributes) models and interactive mappers for the Southwest, Pacific, Southeast, Midwest, and Northeast regions of the U.S. are now available from the U.S. Geological Survey. Review the regional reports for the Southwest, Pacific, Southeast, Midwest, and Northeast. Learn more about SPARROW models and applications.
What’s in Your Stream? Get Online to Find Out! Stream Quality Viewer Shows Contaminants, Nutrients, and Stream Health— A new update to an online interactive tool for learning about pesticides, nutrients, and overall stream health in major regions of the U.S. is available from the U.S. Geological Survey’s Regional Stream Quality Assessment. Users now can access results for the Northeast and Pacific Northwest regions, along with results for the Midwest and Southeast regions made available in 2018. Read more here.