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Past News... (2007)

2007 Peter G. Finke Award.

2007 Peter G. Finke Award. 12/28/2007 -- K. Scott Jackson, a scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey, Ohio Water Science Center, was presented the 2007 Peter G. Finke Award for Most Valuable Contribution to Floodplain Management. Each year at the Ohio Statewide Floodplain Management Conference, the Ohio Floodplain Management Association acknowledges individuals for their dedication and service in floodplain management by presenting Recognition Awards. Congratulations, Scott!

Occurrence of Anthropogenic Organic Compounds in Ground Water and Finished Water Described in Report.

Occurrence of Anthropogenic Organic Compounds in Ground Water and Finished Water Described in Report. 12/18/2007 -- As part of a Source Water Quality Assessment (SWQA) of the USGS National Water-Quality Assessment  (NAWQA) Program, source water for 15 wells in the vicinity of Dayton, Ohio, was sampled for the occurrence of 258 anthropogenic organic compounds (AOCs). Source water is the raw (ambient) water collected at the supply well prior to water treatment and delivery to consumers as drinking water. As described in a new report by M.A. Thomas, at least one AOC was detected in 12 of the 15 samples. Source water samples were then compared to samples of finished water (treated water ready to delivery to the customer) associated with each well. Volatile organic compound (VOC) detections were generally higher in finished water than in source water, primarily due to compounds that can form during the treatment process. Finally, concentrations of AOCs were compared to their respective human-health benchmarks. Only three VOCs were detected at concentrations that approach human-health benchmarks.

New USGS Ground Water Watch Web Pages Available.

Real-time instrumentation at observation well FR-523, Westerville, Ohio. 12/05/2007 -- The USGS Office of Ground Water recently released new Web pages for the USGS Ground Water Watch. Ground-water networks represented include the Active Water-Level Network, the Climate Response Network, and the Real-Time Ground-Water Level Network. Nationally, the Active Water-Level Network contains water levels and well information from more than 20,000 wells that have been measured by the USGS or USGS cooperators at least once within the past 365 days and entered into the USGS database. Ohio has a total of 119 wells that are part of the Active Ground-Water Level Network, including 11 real-time wells, 13 continuous wells, and 95 periodic wells.

Historical Data Available on Web Plus 11 New Gages in Ohio.

New streamgage in Newark, OH. 11/20/2007 -- Streamgages operated by the USGS provide long-term, accurate, unbiased streamflow information to help protect life and property and manage the Nation’s water resources. Historical instantaneous streamflow data are now available by way of a new USGS online database.

In 2007, eleven stream gages were installed, reinstated, or upgraded in Ohio. These include four new gages as part of the Licking County Flood Warning Network and four new and one upgraded gage as part of the City of Findlay in Hancock County Flood Warning Network. Additionally, a gage was installed in Butler County and an inactive gage restarted in Defiance County. A list of the gages with links to the site’s real-time data through the National Water Information System Web Interface (NWISWeb) is provided.

2006 Flood in North-Central Ohio Documented in New Report.

Hydrologist identifying flood high water marks. 10/18/2007 -- Heavy rains caused severe flooding in north-central Ohio on June 22–24, 2006. Six counties (Cuyahoga, Erie, Huron, Lucas, Sandusky, and Stark) were declared Federal disaster areas. The peak streamflow of 25,400 cubic feet per second and corresponding peak gage height of 23.29 feet were the highest recorded at the USGS streamflow-gaging station Cuyahoga River at Independence (04208000) since the station began operation in 1922, exceeding the previous peak streamflow of 24,800 cubic feet per second that occurred on January 22, 1959. A new report describes the meteorological factors associated with the flood, as well as stages and flows at the Cuyahoga River at Independence and 10 other USGS gaging stations in north-central Ohio (more) 164KB.

New Technology Aims to Distinguish Sources of Fecal Contamination in Portage River Watershed.

Microbiologist in chemical hood.10/11/2007 -- Microbiologists with the USGS Ohio Water Science Center have begun a study to test the usefulness of new microbial source tracking (MST) technologies to identify sources of fecal contamination in the Portage River Watershed of northwestern Ohio. Possible sources of fecal bacteria in typical agricultural watersheds are discharges from home septic systems and small wastewater treatment plants, runoff from small- and large-scale livestock operations, and pet and wildlife feces. As part of the research, samples from potential fecal contamination sources and selected Portage River Watershed sites will be collected and analyzed for the presence of unique DNA markers. More information about this research (85 KB .pdf) and information about microbial source tracking are available.  

10th Annual Earth Science Week – October 14-20, 2007.

10th Earth Science Week. 10/05/2007 -- “The Pulse of Earth Science” is the theme for this year’s Earth Science Week. The international event is sponsored by the American Geological Institute (AGI), USGS, and others to help the public gain a better understanding and appreciation for the earth sciences and to encourage stewardship of the Earth. Earth-science-related activities around Ohio include events at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Highbanks Metropark, Darby Creek Day at Batelle-Darby Metropark, the Ohio Statehouse, and several others. A comprehensive and still relevant guide of online USGS resources (13.5 MB .pdf) was published for last year’s event.

New Report Examines Factors Associated with Elevated Arsenic Concentrations.

Arsenic concentrations in the glacial aquifer system. 08/21/2007 -- More than 800 wells in the glacial aquifer system of the Northern United States were sampled for arsenic as part of USGS National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) studies during 1991–2003. Arsenic, which is detrimental to human health, is relatively abundant in nature and was detected in 39 percent of the NAWQA water samples. Elevated arsenic concentrations (greater than or equal to the 2006 USEPA  arsenic standard of 10 µg/L) were detected in 9 percent of samples. Domestic wells are not routinely tested for arsenic, so homeowners may not know whether their wells have elevated arsenic concentrations.  A new report assesses the relative significance of geochemistry, ground-water age, depth, and other water-quality constituents as indicators of elevated arsenic. Arsenic and redox (oxidation-reduction) conditions are compared among four broad geographic areas of the glacial aquifer system. The findings are related to an existing conceptual model for arsenic occurrence in ground water. 

500-year Flood of 2006 in Painesville, Ohio Documented in New Report.

Painesville, Ohio 500-year flood of 2006. 07/10/2007 -- On July 27–28, 2006, storms left more than 11 inches of rain in parts of Lake County, Ohio, and resulted in the home evacuation of about 600 people. On July 28, the USGS streamgage at Grand River near Painesville recorded a peak streamflow of 35,000 cubic feet per second, which exceeds the 500-year flood statistic. A 500-year flood—the maximum for which the USGS computes statistics—is the peak streamflow that has only a 1 in 500 chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year. A new report by scientists at the USGS Ohio Water Science Center and National Weather Service, Cleveland Office discusses the meteorological factors associated with the flood, along with a description of the flood–– including high-water marks, flood stages, streamflows, recurrence intervals, and flood damages. (more).

Ohio WSC Hosts Training for Citizen Lake-Monitoring Efforts.

Secchi data training. 06/19/2007 -- Renowned biologist Dr. Bob Carlson taught Ohio Lake Management Society (OLMS) board members, including OLMS President and Ohio WSC biologist Julie Hambrook Berkman in the use of the Secchi disk to measure the transparency of water. Water transparency, or how deep the light penetrates the water, is an indicator of water quality.  Trained board members will teach volunteer monitors around Ohio in this technique. Volunteers can take part in The Great North American Secchi Dip-In (June 23–July 15, 2007) as well as participate in OLMS’s Citizen Lake Awareness and Monitoring (CLAM) program. This year, CLAM volunteers will be collecting Secchi and temperature data to add information to the 19 lakes and reservoirs that Ohio EPA will be sampling as part of the USEPA’s National Lakes Survey for monitoring lake condition on a national level.

Microbial Source Tracking Efforts Recognized.

06/01/2007 -- When water is polluted above fecal indicator bacteria standards, somebody has to figure out the source of the contamination and fix it. The USGS is a leader in the validation and application of microbial source tracking tools, which are used to identify point and nonpoint sources of contamination. Common sources include the feces of cattle, chickens, and pigs, as well as manure used as fertilizer. Human waste is generally well controlled but sometimes, as with combined sewer overflows and malfunctioning septic systems, human waste can be a significant contamination source. Five recently published reports highlight the Ohio Water Microbiology Laboratory’s collaborations with regional, Federal, and academic partners.

One of these reports got special recognition from the American Society of Agronomy. In 2001, Plum Creek, Nebraska was named the most contaminated tributary to the middle reaches of the Platte River. The researchers used two fecal source-tracking tools to analyze contaminated water and stream-sediment samples in the Plum Creek watershed. (More...)

Research Looks At Exposure To Low Levels Of Pharmaceuticals.

Polar Organic Chemical Integrative Sampler (POCIS) 05/07/2007 -- Biologists from the Ohio Water Science Center tested new sampling technology to look at the products of our times—from the drugs prescribed for illness to the soap we use to wash our hands. These chemicals enter our water supplies after use. Polar organic chemical integrative sampler (POCIS) devices were used in Tinkers Creek, the largest tributary to the Cuyahoga River, to detect chemicals in concentrations much lower than detectable using conventional methods. Previous biological surveys in Tinkers Creek showed that the Index of Biotic Integrity values for the fish populations did not match the Qualitative Habitat Evaluation Index values, leading to the question as to whether chronic exposure to low levels of pharmaceuticals, health-care products, and organic-wastewater compounds may be suppressing the spawning success of the fish. A recent article in People, Land & Water further describes this study.

National Drinking Water Week – May 6-12.

05/03/2007 -- Celebrate drinking water, our most precious natural resource. The American Water Works Association is working with water utilities and customers to recognize the importance of drinking water in our communities. Do you know where your water comes from and how you can help protect it? More information about drinking water and this event can be found at the U.S. EPA Ground Water and Drinking Water and  American Water Works Association web pages.

Newly Renovated Microbiology Web Site Available.

New Ohio Water Microbiology Laboratory Web Site 04/25/2007 -- The redesigned USGS Ohio Water Microbiology Laboratory (OWML) Web site is now available. Topics on the improved Web site include discussions of the analytical methods used and  the quality-assurance / quality-control (QA/QC) practices of the OWML. Current microbiology projects are described, and a list of OWML-authored publications for public health microbiology is provided. Three research topics are specifically discussed—beach monitoring research information is available now, and rapid-methods and source-tracking discussions are in development.  

Located in the Ohio Water Science Center, the OWML addresses water-related public-health concerns for Ohio and the rest of the Nation. The OWML works with government agencies, academic institutions, and other partners to study the quality of national, state, and local water resources. The OWML provides water-quality data on three major groups of microorganisms— protozoa, bacteria, and viruses.

Hydrologic Models Presented At National Surface-Water Conference.

Flood model boundary. 04/10/2007 -- Hydrologists from the USGS Ohio Water Science Center gave two presentations at the 2007 National Surface-Water Conference and Hydroacoustics Workshop. Barry Puskas presented a hydrologic model for forecasting floods by use of near-real-time data in the Great Miami River Watershed, Ohio, and Matt Whitehead talked about modeling flood profiles in an urban area with long culverts and overland flow. The conference was attended by over 400 surface-water scientists and managers from around the world, representing several levels of government, universities, and the private sector.

Ohio’s Aquatic Biodiversity And Conservation Status Assessed In New Report.

Ohio Aquatic GAP species distributions. 03/16/2007 -- The goal of the USGS Gap Analysis Program is to “keep common species common” through the identification of gaps in the conservation of native species. Ohio Aquatic GAP’s new online USGS report assesses the biodiversity and conservation status of native riverine fish, crayfish, and freshwater bivalves in Ohio. This was accomplished  through the development of predictive distribution models  which were based on species’ sampling locations and a classification of the physical habitat of the streams.  The modeled habitat locations were analyzed and then compared with a map of public and private conservation lands. A wealth of maps and GIS data accompany the report.

National Ground Water Awareness Week – March 11-17, 2007.

ground water sketch03/07/2007 -- Have you ever had the pleasure of drinking water pumped from a well? Did you know you were probably drinking ground water? Ground water is the water that seeps into the ground and fills the pores and cracks in the rocks below the surface. In Ohio,  ground water makes up more than a third of the water used for public-supply use and 98 percent of self-supplied domestic water use.  That's more than 630 million gallons per day! That's enough water to fill Ohio Stadium to the top, if it was a container, every day. Ohio is one of the top 10 states in the Nation for public- and self-supplied domestic water withdrawals (2000 data). The USGS Ohio Water Science Center is involved with several ground-water studies, including The National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program’s Transport of Anthropogenic and Natural Contaminants to Supply Wells (TANC) study. National Ground Water Awareness Week is sponsored by the National Ground Water Association (NGWA). More information on ground water can be found at the USGS Ground Water Information Page and the Groundwater Foundation .

Awesome Aquifers! Hydrologists Judge Two Science Olympiad Competitions.

Awesome Aquifers! Hydrologists Judge Two Science Olympiad Competitions

02/27/2007 -- USGS scientists Sandra Eberts, Rodney Sheets (event supervisors), Sandy Coen, and Donna Runkle judged teams for the Ohio Science Olympiad  Awesome Aquifer competition at Columbus’ Ridgeview Middle School invitational tournament on February 10 and at the Grandview Heights Regional tournament on February 24. Awesome Aquifers is designed to increase middle school students' understanding of ground-water concepts such as the physical makeup of an aquifer, ground-water’s place in the hydrologic cycle, and changes to the ground-water system. The Immaculate Conception team won the Awesome Aquifiers invitational event.  Grandview Heights Middle School won the Awesome Aquifiers regional tournament event and 23-event competition and will proceed to the state Science Olympiad Tournament, to be held at The Ohio State University April 14, 2007 (schedule). Winners of the state tournament compete in the National Science Olympiad in Wichita, Kansas, May 18-19.

First Annual National Streamflow Summary Of 2006-Water Year.

National Streamflow Information Program01/17/2007 -- USGS released a new web site depicting summary streamflow conditions for water year 2006 (October 1, 2005 to September 30, 2006) in the context of the 77-year period 1930-2006. Data are from the USGS National Streamflow Information Program and show maps and charts of statewide ranks, regional patterns, seasonal characteristics, and record high and low flows. (more...)

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