Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Capitol Hill Briefing Will Highlight USGS Report on Nationwide Groundwater Quality

Friday, March 6, 2015
10:00 to 11:30 AM
Capitol Visitors Center Congressional Meeting Room North

The U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program will present a public and Congressional briefing on findings from its ongoing evaluation of water quality in the principal aquifers of the United States on March 6, 2015, at 10:00 a.m. on Capitol Hill, Washington, DC. The briefing is cosponsored by the Northeast-Midwest Institute and Water Environment Federation.

The USGS Office of Groundwater has identified 62 principal aquifers in the U.S. (please see this NAWQA web site for further background). About one-third of those principal aquifers have been the historical focus of water-quality assessments at a regional scale by NAWQA. On January 21, NAWQA released, "Water Quality in Principal Aquifers of the United States," a compendium summarizing groundwater quality trends based upon regional- and national-scale assessments conducted in principal aquifers between 1991 and 2010.  The briefing will highlight nationwide and regional findings from that comprehensive report.

Nationally, NAWQA found that groundwater from 22 percent of sampled wells contained at least one chemical constituent at a concentration greater than a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Maximum Contaminant Level or other human-health benchmark (see figure to the right). Nitrate was the only human-sourced constituent from that exceeded its human-health benchmark in more than one percent of wells.

Speakers for this briefing include:
  • Moderator Patrick Leahy, Executive Director, American Geological Institute
  • Barbara Mahler, Ph.D., Scientist for the NAWQA Program 
Following Dr. Mahler's presentation, time will be provided for questions from and discussion with the audience.

The briefing is free and open to the public. Please RSVP to cbarbour@usgs.gov if you plan on attending.

Established in 1991 by Congress, the NAWQA program mission is to produce surface and ground water quality information for Federal and state resource managers.

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