New England Water Is Improving But Problems Remain, Says New USGS Report

April 30, 1999

Water quality has improved significantly in New England over the past 50 years because of advances in the treatment of municipal and industrial wastes. However, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island are still experiencing some problems with the quality of ground and surface water and the water in the Gulf of Maine. In an effort to better understand the current picture, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has released a report that describes the natural and human factors that affect water quality and aquatic life in New England.

"Problems with water quality are due to many factors,î said Keith Robinson, Chief of the New England Coastal Basins study. These factors range from excess nutrient concentrations to toxic substancs, land use and sewer overflows, the presence of syntheticorganic chemicals, effects of dams on fish and bottom-dwelling organisms, effects of the depostion of mercury from the atmposphere into lakes and fish, and the direct and indirect sources of pollutants in rivers.

The USGS report describes the geology, climate, soils, rivers and streams, ground waters, plant and animal habitats on land and in the water, and human settlement and industry (termed environmental settings) within the 23,000-square-mile New England Coastal Basins study area.

Information about the physical and cultural characteristics, or environmental setting, will not only give a picture of the quality of surface and ground water but also provide information needed by water-resource managers in the four states to implement effective water-quality management policies.

The New England study is one of 59 similar studies being conducted nationwide to define how the environment influences ground and surface-water quality and aquatic biology in large watersheds, or drainage areas, as part of the National Water-Quality Assessment Program.

Copies of the report Water-Resources Investigations Report 98-4249, titled "Water-quality assessment of the New England Coastal Basins in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island: Environmental settings and implications for water quality and aquatic biota,î by S.M. Flanagan and others, are available for viewing at university, state, and government depository libraries and at the USGS, NH/VT District office, 361 Commerce Way, Pembroke, NH 03275, (603) 226-7837. Copies may be purchased for $4.00 from the USGS, Branch of Information Services, Box 25286, Denver, CO 80225 or by calling 1-888-ASK-USGS.
-end-
As the nation's largest water, earth and biological science, and civilian mapping agency, the USGS works in cooperation with more than 2,000 organizations across the country to provide reliable, impartial, scientific information to resource managers, planners, and other customers. This information is gathered in every state by USGS scientists to minimize the loss of life and property from natural disasters, contribute to the sound conservation, economic and physical development of the nation's natural resources, and enhance the quality of life by monitoring water, biological, energy, and mineral resources.

In-depth information about USGS water-resources programs may be found on the USGS Water-Resources home page: http://water.usgs.gov.



US Geological Survey

Related Water Quality Articles from Brightsurf:

A watershed moment for US water quality
A new federal rule that determines how the Clean Water Act is implemented leaves millions of miles of streams and acres of wetlands unprotected based on selective interpretation of case law and a distortion of scientific evidence, researchers say in a new publication.

'Pregnancy test for water' delivers fast, easy results on water quality
A new platform technology can assess water safety and quality with just a single drop and a few minutes.

New process could safeguard water quality, environment and health
Swansea University researchers have developed a new way to quickly find and remove wastewater pollutants, which can reduce their impact on the environment.

23 years of water quality data from crop-livestock systems
Researchers summarize runoff water quantity and quality data from native tallgrass prairie and crop-livestock systems in Oklahoma between 1977 and 1999.

Lessening water quality problems caused by hurricane-related flooding
June 1 is the start of hurricane season in the Atlantic, and with 2020 predicted to be particularly active, residents in coastal regions are keeping watchful eyes on the weather.

Control of anthropogenic atmospheric emissions can improve water quality in seas
A new HKU research highlighted the importance of reducing fossil fuel combustion not only to curb the trend of global warming, but also to improve the quality of China's coastal waters.

Pharma's potential impact on water quality
When people take medications, these drugs and their metabolites can be excreted and make their way to wastewater treatment plants.

Study: Your home's water quality could vary by the room -- and the season
A study has found that the water quality of a home can differ in each room and change between seasons, challenging the assumption that the water in a public water system is the same as the water that passes through a building's plumbing at any time of the year.

Researchers create new tools to monitor water quality, measure water insecurity
A wife-husband team will present both high-tech and low-tech solutions for improving water security at this year's American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in Seattle on Sunday, Feb.

How anti-sprawl policies may be harming water quality
Urban growth boundaries are created by governments in an effort to concentrate urban development -- buildings, roads and the utilities that support them -- within a defined area.

Read More: Water Quality News and Water Quality Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.