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Past News... (2011)

Ottawa, Ohio, Now More Prepared For Floods.

Ottawa, Ohio, Now More Prepared For Floods. 12/1/2011 --Data from streamgages and flood-inundation maps serve as a flood warning that emergency management personnel use along with National Weather Service flood-forecast data to determine a course of action when flooding is imminent. New digital flood-inundation maps of the Blanchard River in Ottawa, Putnam County, Ohio, are available in a new report and will be part of a forthcoming Web-based flood-warning network. Maps of the Village of Ottawa showing flood-inundation areas are presented for 12 flood stages with corresponding streamflows ranging from less than the 2-year and up to nearly the 500-year recurrence-interval flood. As part of the flood-warning network, the USGS upgraded the streamgage at the Blanchard River in Ottawa and added two new streamgages, one on the Blanchard River at Gilboa  and one on Riley Creek, a tributary to the Blanchard River.

Quantifying Viruses And Bacteria In Wastewater.

Quantifying Viruses And Bacteria In Wastewater. 11/1/2011 --Membrane bioreactors (MBRs) are a relatively new and increasingly used wastewater-treatment technology in which conventional treatment is replaced by a membrane separation process.  In MBR and conventional plants, bacterial indicators, such as E. coli and fecal coliforms, are used to indicate the removal of pathogenic viruses, bacteria, and protozoa.  There is little information, however, on the effectiveness of MBRs in removing human enteric viruses (which cause a wide range of diseases and symptoms) from wastewaters. To fill this gap, samples were collected throughout treatment processes in three MBR and two conventional wastewater plants in a USGS study in Ohio.  The first report on this study presents results for enteric viruses, bacterial indicators, and coliphage (virus indicator) concentrations in wastewater and documents procedures for quantifying and qualifying data on concentrations of enteric viruses.

How’s The Stream’s Water Quality?

How’s the Stream’s Water Quality?10/14/2011 --Check out the new Water Quality Sites! The newly installed water quality sensors measure water temperature, specific conductance, pH, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity in continuous real-time. The sensors are installed at Maumee River near Waterville, Portage River at Woodville, Vermilion River near Vermilion, Black River at Elyria, Rocky River near Berea, and Cuyahoga River at Independence, in cooperation with the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. View the map on the USGS WaterQualityWatch to see these sites and other water quality sites in Ohio and throughout the United States. Increased knowledge of a stream’s water quality can lead to more effective resource management, including guiding decisions on drinking water treatment, recreational uses such as swimming, fishing, and boating, and assessing aquatic habitat.

Protect Your Groundwater Day – September 13, 2011.

Protect Your Groundwater Day – September 13, 2011. 09/8/2011 --We all have a stake in groundwater quality and quantity. In Ohio, almost 5 million people drink groundwater supplied by public water systems, and an additional million more people get their drinking water from private wells. Even if you get your drinking water from a reservoir, most surface water bodies are connected to groundwater through the hydrologic cycle. More information on groundwater and Protect Your Groundwater Day can be found at the National Ground Water Association Web page.

New SPARROW Models for Great Lakes.

New SPARROW Models for Great Lakes. 09/1/2011 --A recent journal article describes new SPAtially Referenced Regressions On Watershed attributes (SPARROW) models for the U.S. portion of the Great Lakes. SPARROW models examine the relations between stream monitoring data and landscape information to help in understanding how human activities and natural processes affect water quality. The new SPARROW models were developed for estimating loads (mass per unit area per time) and sources of phosphorus and nitrogen. The largest sources of phosphorus to the lakes are farm fertilizers and forested land, and the largest sources of nitrogen are atmospheric deposition and farm fertilizer. Results indicate that recent U.S. loadings to Lakes Michigan and Ontario are similar to those in the 1980s, whereas loadings to Lakes Superior, Huron, and Erie decreased. The watersheds around Lake Erie contributed nutrients at the highest rate, with about 50% of the load to Lake Erie coming from the large, agricultural Maumee River Watershed.

Did You Feel It?

Did you feel it? 08/25/2011 -- Earthquake tremors were felt in Ohio and other states hundreds of miles from the epicenter of the August 23 earthquake near Louisa, Virginia (news release). USGS’s Did You Feel It? is a citizen science project that collects spatial distribution of where the earthquake was felt and how strong was the shaking. Groundwater wells and streams can also "feel" earthquakes hundreds or thousands of miles away. In Ohio, an observation well in Van Wert County is especially sensitive to earthquakes; it registered a 0.3-foot fluctuation of the water level after the March 11 earthquake in Japan, 6,000 miles away.

Ohio Nowcast Live For The Summer Beach Season.

Ohio Nowcast Live For The Summer Beach Season. 06/09/2011 -- Each morning, beach managers post advisories stating whether water quality at the beach is predicted to be poor or good based on the Ohio Nowcast. Nowcasts are mathematical models that estimate the concentration of bacteria (E. coli) in the water based on real-time beach specific variables such as turbidity (cloudiness of the water), rainfall in last 24 or 48 hours, and wind conditions. Algae levels are not predicted. This is the first year of the Nowcast for the Lake Erie beach at Maumee Bay State Park. It joins Huntington Beach, Edgewater Beach, and the Cuyahoga River in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, where Nowcasts have been in operation for several years. Nowcast models at seven other Lake Erie beaches and six inland Ohio lakes, including the inland lake beach at Maumee Bay State Park, are in development. Safe swimming!

National Drinking Water Week – May 1-7, 2011.

National Drinking Water Week - May 1-7, 2011. 04/29/2011 -- Safe drinking water. Celebrate the Essential! The USGS conducts pure and applied research on a range of topics with relevance to drinking water issues.  Do you know where your drinking water comes from? Learn more about Ohio drinking water from the USEPA and Ohio EPA drinking water websites. National Drinking Water Week is sponsored by the American Water Works Association.

Human Activities Increase Concentrations Of Trace Elements.

Human Activities Increase Concentrations of Trace Elements. 03/29/2011 -- A new article in the journal Applied Geochemistry explores how different land uses and human activities such as well drilling and well pumping have affected groundwater quality by inadvertently increasing concentrations of naturally occurring trace elements such as uranium, arsenic, and radium in groundwater. The article is titled "Effects of human-induced alteration of groundwater flow on concentrations of naturally-occurring trace elements at water-supply wells." Although several factors can result in greater or lesser well vulnerability to contamination (podcast), effects of human activities were found to have influenced trace element concentrations in all five of the hydrologically distinct aquifer systems in the United States that were studied. The research is part of the USGS National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program's topical study on the Transport of Anthropogenic and Natural Contaminants to public-supply wells.

Recent Storms Underscore Importance of Flood Safety Awareness.

Recent Storms Underscore Importance of Flood Safety Awareness. 03/11/2011 -- Flooding is one of Ohio’s greatest natural hazards. Recent storms (2/27-3/4/2011) resulted in floods with average recurrence intervals in excess of 100 years at four Ohio stream gages and caused moderate to minor flooding at many locations around the state. Since the storms started, the USGS has made well over 100 streamflow measurements in Ohio alone. Streamflow measurements made at or near peak flows are used along with stream-gage data (podcast) to better define the relation between gage heights and streamflows during floods. Those data ultimately facilitate development of more accurate and reliable flood forecasts and flood-inundation models.

USGS hydrologists recently developed flood-inundation maps for the urban areas of Killbuck and Findlay, Ohio. These maps are being served on National Weather Service (NWS) Web pages along with NWS flood forecasts. Emergency managers and the public can use the maps along with forecasted peak gage heights to determine whether specific areas are likely to be flooded, thereby providing an opportunity to take actions (such as moving cars and belongings) that can mitigate flood damages.

National Flood Safety Awareness Week, March 14-18, 2011, is intended to inform the public about ways that floods can occur, the hazards of floods, and things people can do to save lives and property.

National Ground Water Awareness Week – March 6-12, 2011.

Ohio Active Water Level Network. 03/03/2011 -- Who should be “aware” of groundwater? Quite simply, everyone. Groundwater is the water that seeps into the ground and fills the pores and cracks in the rocks below the surface, and it is the predominant source of drinking water for about 4.8 million people in Ohio. Information on ground water can be found at the USGS Ground Water Information Page. Through the National Water Information System, the USGS provides the public with access to more than 850,000 groundwater records. In Ohio there are currently 147 active groundwater wells, including 22 real-time sites that represent the most current hydrologic conditions, with measurements recorded at 15- to 60-minute intervals. National Ground Water Awareness Week is sponsored by the National Ground Water Association (NGWA) and is supported by many organizations, including the USGS.

Estimating streamflow in the winter.

Streamgaging at Portage River at Woodville. 01/26/2011 -- A new USGS factsheet describes how a USGS streamgage works, including the equipment used and how streamflow typically is measured. The USGS operates a network of more than 9,000 real-time streamgages nationwide, with more than 200 of them in Ohio.  During the winter, many of Ohio’s waterways become ice affected. The effect can range from a minimal change in the amount of flow to 100 percent at a few sites. Three types of ice– frazil, anchor, and surface – can form on, in, or along a stream. Surface ice, which has the greatest effect on the flow, begins on the fringes of the stream and spreads inward. When streams ice over, streamgagers need to estimate the part of the record that is ice affected. To come up with the most accurate data possible, streamgagers use estimation tools and techniques such as discharge measurements at the site, hydrographic comparison with other sites in the same drainage basin, weather records for the area, and weekly notes taken by an observer.


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