USGS Ohio Water Science Center
What we're doing...
Two New Reports Shed Light On Arsenic In Ohio Drinking Water.
3/7/2016 -- Arsenic is a groundwater contaminant that occurs naturally in parts of Ohio. Long-term exposure to water with high concentrations of arsenic is linked to serious health problems, including multiple types of cancer. About 1.8 million Ohioans get their drinking water from domestic wells, most of which have not been tested for arsenic. A new report on arsenic in groundwater of Licking County reveals that almost 1 in 8 domestic wells in the County had arsenic concentrations greater than the health limit of 10 micrograms per liter. Arsenic concentrations were related to the distribution of geologic deposits, so some areas were more affected than others. Similar geologic deposits exist elsewhere in the State, and these areas may also be vulnerable to contamination from natural sources of arsenic. A second report is from a study that evaluated the effectiveness of different water-treatment systems used to remove arsenic from drinking water at 11 homes in southwestern and central Ohio. The effectiveness of the treatment systems varied widely (2–90 percent), depending on (1) the quality of the raw water and (2) maintenance and (or)operation of the systems.
Characterizing Water Quality In The Muskingum Watershed.
2/3/2016 -- The USGS and Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) are cooperating to characterize the surface-water quality in the eastern part of the Muskingum Watershed, where many of the largest reservoirs in the watershed are located and where shale-gas drilling is particularly focused. Water-quality and streamflow data are being collected under a variety of streamflow conditions six times at thirty sites around six of the reservoirs. Additionally, there are weather stations at the lakes, and lake and stream gages at some of the water-quality sites measure real-time lake level, stage, discharge, and (or) continuous water-quality parameters such as specific conductance and stream temperature (link to real-time gage data).
Predicting Harmful Algal Blooms.
11/20/2015 -- new report describes a study to predict cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms (cyanoHABs) at Ohio recreational lake sites. A cyanoHAB is a large growth of bacteria that produces toxins such as microcystin. CyanoHABs are a major water-quality issue for Lake Erie and inland lakes in Ohio. Staff collected data and made water quality and environmental measurements that were used to identify the potential for a system to quickly estimate microcystin levels and provide advisories to swimmers and boaters. This type of system has been used at Lake Erie beaches as part of the Ohio Nowcast for predicting E. coli concentrations, but has not been tested for cyanoHAB predictions. The results of this study showed that water-quality and environmental factors are promising for use in site-specific models for cyanoHAB predictions.
Water Resources Programs in Ohio
Ohio WSC Fact Sheets