USGS Ohio Water Science Center
What we're doing...
Widespread Plastic Pollution Found in Great Lakes Tributaries.
9/15/2016 -- Tiny pieces of harmful plastic, called microplastics, are prevalent in many rivers that flow into the Great Lakes, according to a new study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. Scientists with the USGS and State University of New York at Fredonia studied 107 water samples collected from 29 Great Lakes tributaries, including 9 Ohio tributaries, and found microplastics in all samples. Together, these 29 tributaries account for approximately 22 percent of the total river water that flows into the Great Lakes. Various forms of microplastics were found. Plastic fibers, from items such as synthetic clothes, diapers, and cigarette butts, were the most common type detected. The least common form found in the river water was microbeads, which are the only form banned by the United States Congress. This ban has not yet taken effect. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funded the study. ( news release, USGS microplastics website).
Estimating Microcystin Levels At Recreational Sites In Western Lake Erie And Ohio.
8/12/2016 -- A new article, published in Harmful Algae, describes a study to predict cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms (cyanoHABs) at three Ohio recreational lake sites. This is a follow-up article to a previously published USGS report. A cyanoHAB is a large growth of bacteria that produces toxins such as microcystin. Staff collected data and made water quality and environmental measurements that were used to identify factors that could be used to develop linear-regression models to estimate microcystin levels. The results of this study showed that models could be developed for estimating a microcystin threshold concentration at a recreational freshwater lake site, with potential to expand their use to provide public health information to water resource managers and the public for both recreational and drinking waters.
Ohio StreamStats Updated With Water Use Estimates.
7/11/2016 -- The popular Ohio StreamStats application has been enhanced with the ability to obtain water-use information. StreamStats is a Web-based, interactive geographic information system that permits a user to locate points of interest on streams, delineate the basin boundary, compute selected basin characteristics, and obtain estimates of a variety of streamflow statistics associated with those locations. The new capabilities allow StreamStats to provide information on average monthly and average annual water uses (including total withdrawals, returns, and net withdrawals) associated with areas draining to the selected locations. This study was done to pilot the water-use information retrieval process for Ohio and so was limited to providing information for portions of 30 counties in the northeast quadrant of Ohio where water demands have been changing rapidly. A new report describes the analytical methods and results of the pilot study.
National Drinking Water Week – May 1-7.
5/1/2016 -- Celebrate drinking water, our most precious natural resource. This Drinking Water Week, learn about Ohio drinking water from the USEPA and Ohio EPA drinking water websites. The USGS conducts human-health related research on a range of water quality topics relevant to drinking water.
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Ohio WSC Fact Sheets