Domestic-Well Water-Quality Data and Reports for the Environmental Public Health Tracking Network: USGS and CDC Collaboration

by Ambarish Viadyanathan,
Judy Qualters, P.E.,
Gary L. Rowe, Jr., Ph.D.,

Abstract: The mission of the Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) Program is to provide information from a nationwide network of integrated health and environmental data that drive actions to improve the health of communities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is leading the initiative to build a national tracking network by drawing on expertise from Federal, State, and local agencies. CDC is collaborating with various environmental agencies to make environmental data accessible to users through the tracking network. Ground water is a focus area for tracking health and source-water quality and in the states funded for tracking by the CDC, the total number of people served by domestic supplies is in the millions. Drinking water supplied by domestic wells is inconsistently regulated and overall quality is not well characterized. Hence it is important to understand the distribution of ground water contaminants, especially in areas with high domestic-well water use. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is one of the primary data sources for domestic-well water data. Over the past 2 years CDC and USGS have worked together to identify priority contaminants in the States funded by the CDC and to describe USGS contaminant databases that could be helpful to EPHT. On the basis of national summaries of detection frequencies and concentrations relative to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) human-health benchmarks, 11 contaminants were selected for summarization of water-quality data in the 16 EPHT States. The 11 contaminants selected are arsenic, atrazine, benzene, deethylatrazine, manganese, nitrate, perchloroethene (PCE), radon, strontium, trichloroethene (TCE), and uranium. This paper provides a summary of data products obtained through collaboration with USGS for the 16 EPHT States and an overview of the efforts undertaken by the tracking network in areas related to ground water. Data products that will be publicly accessible to users through the EPHT website include: (1) Water-quality data on the 11 contaminants from the USGS National Water Information System(NWIS) database; (2) USGS water-use information by county and land use for each of the EPHT States; and (3) a summary report that provides USGS water-quality data for each state and discusses contaminant occurrence relative to other ancillary geospatial and water-use data.

Subject Headings: Federal government | Public health and safety | Tracking | Water quality | Pollutants | Hydrologic data | Environmental issues | Municipal water

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