Groundwater in Illinois

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A forum for discussing groundwater issues in Illinois by scientists at the Illinois State Water Survey.

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  • Thermal Pollution

    In surface water, temperature is an important water quality parameter affecting aquatic organisms, and a recently published paper has looked at the magnitude of thermal pollution in many river basins throughout the world.

  • Triclosan and Microbiomes

    Triclosan is a very common antibacterial compound, used in antibacterial soaps and toothpaste, and it is found in humans (detected in about 75% of urine samples in the U.S. in 2008) and in the aquatic environment. 

  • Climate Change and Water Quality

    Groundwater is generally shielded from variations in the weather, and changes in groundwater quality due to changes in temperature and precipitation are likely to be muted and subtle. However, surface water quality is a different story, and a recent article in Nature discusses this.

  • Plastic Debris and Human Health

    A recent viewpoint in the journal Environmental Science & Technology suggests that persistent plastic debris may be an important health issue for humans. We’ve known for a long time that aquatic animals are vulnerable to plastic pollution.

  • Video on Flint Water Crisis

    The New Yorker tweeted a 5-minute video of residents of Flint talking about how the water crisis has affected them, and how they’ve lost trust in the system. One of the worst things about the whole debacle is the loss of trust in this basic service of delivering healthy water to our citizens.

  • High Levels of Lead in Flint Drinking Water

    About 25% of Flint households have lead levels above the federal standard of 15 parts per billion (ppb), with one home having an almost unbelievable level of 13,200 ppb. But why are there are such high levels of lead in Flint’s water?

  • Microplastics in Table Salt

    These are plastic debris smaller than 5 mm in diameter, and there’s a lot of it in the ocean. Now comes a report that we may be ingesting microplastics through sea salt.

  • Sunscreen and Coral Reefs

    A few years ago, a group of researchers working in the Caribbean were talking to a local vendor who was waiting for the day’s invasion of tourists. He told them that the tourists would leave behind “a long oil slick” in the water. The scientists were intrigued, and wondered how this “oil slick” would affect the local coral reefs.

  • Teflon Regulations

    My brilliant daughter (I have two) recently sent me a link to a disturbing story. It has to do with surface water and groundwater contamination in Parkersburg, WV, by DuPont. The offending compound was perfluorooctanoic acid, also known as C8, which is a key ingredient in Teflon and many other products.

  • Neonicotinoids in U.S. Streams

    As you might guess from their name, neonicotinoids are chemically similar to nicotine and, sort of ironically, are especially effective against sucking insects. The most controversial aspect of neonicotinoids is that they have been linked to honey bee colony collapse.