National Water Quality Laboratory

Monday March 08, 2021

Director James Reilly Tours NWQL

Director Tours NWQL A special thanks to new Director James Reilly for stopping by Building 95 on the Denver Federal Center and spending some time going through the building and hearing about the science we are doing in our USGS facility. Hosting the visit (shown in the picture from left to right) were Warren Day, Acting Director for the Geology, Geochemistry, and Geophysics combined centers, Jeff McCoy, Chief of the NWQL, Dave Ozman, Office of Communications, George Ritz, Chief of the BQS, and Director Reilly.

He was kind enough to let us talk about the great science we do in this facility and how it helps grow the reputation of the USGS.

USGS NWQL International Outreach

Outreach USGS NWQL International Outreach has coordinated with the National Water Agency of Brazil (ANA), the Geological Survey of Brazil (CPRM) and the China Geological Survey (CGS) to exchange scientists. The USGS is sending scientists to Brazil and China to show them how we operate a national water network and some of their scientists came here to see how we do things. The first two days were in Atlanta observing field work, then a day and a half was spent here touring the NWQL and BQS and focusing on our quality systems. This included laboratory and field methods for quality assurance procedures.

The China Geological Survey has actively conducted co-ops and exchanges with foreign geological institutions, international and regional agencies, research institutions and universities. An extensive global co-op network has been established by signing memorandums of understanding (MOU) in geosciences and cooperative agreements with geological institutions and geoscientific organizations from more than 50 countries in Asia, Europe, America and Latin America. The co-ops and exchanges are in fields of advanced geoscientific technology and ranging in areas such as geological mapping, evaluation of mineral resources potentials, marine geology, environment geology and hydrological geology and global climate change. Extensive international communication and collaboration is ongoing in many fields, including studies on the compilation and comparison of comprehensive mapping regional geological and mineral survey and evaluation of mineral resources potentials, training and exporting of digitalized geological mapping and geochemical mapping technologies with our neighboring countries and some other countries in Africa and Latin America.

USGS National Water Quality Laboratory (NWQL) 40th Anniversary

40th AnniversaryForty years ago, water samples from around the country started flowing into the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) National Water Quality Laboratory (NWQL) in Arvada, Colorado. By 1999, the NWQL operation had grown considerably necessitating a move to their present location in Bldg. 95 on the campus of the Denver Federal Center in Lakewood, Colorado. Today, the USGS NWQL is the nation’s premier, full-service laboratory that specializes in testing the environmental chemistry of water across the country.

Tens of thousands of water and environmental samples are analyzed each year at the NWQL. Chemists, other scientists, and technicians at the NWQL generated over two million individual results in 2015. Results are used to investigate the effects of low levels of pesticides, pharmaceuticals, industrial chemicals, and inorganic compounds on environmental health, human health, and water supplies. Ongoing research into methods to analyze emerging contaminants in the environment is a key activity at the state-of-the-art facility.

Notable contributions by the NWQL in the last decade have been analysis of samples from several natural and man made disasters such as the Gold King Mine release (2015), Super Storm Sandy (2014), the Elk River West Virginia chemical spill (2014). Colorado Front Range floods (2013), floods on the Mississippi River (2008, 2011, and 2016), and Hurricane Katrina (2005). The NWQL has participated in multiple international projects of various scales.

Jeff McCoy selected as new Chief of the USGS National Water Quality Laboratory (NWQL)

JeffJeff McCoy has been selected to be Chief of the USGS National Water Quality Laboratory (NWQL) in Denver, CO. Jeff will begin serving in this position on January 22, 2017. Jeff brings a wealth of experience in methods research and development and laboratory management to this position.

Jeff joined the NWQL in 2007 as the Chief of the Methods Research and Development Program (MRDP). Jeff’s leadership in methods research and development has resulted in the creation of new national methods for chemical analysis of water, sediments, and tissues for the National Water Quality Program, Toxic Substances Hydrology Program, and Water Science Centers. These new methods have transitioned the NWQL to a new generation of instruments, increased automation, improved efficiency, and lowered unit cost per analysis compared to older methods. New methods under Jeff's guidance also have resulted in improvements in the quality of laboratory results and interpretations of those results. Jeff serves on the Quality Management Subcommittee of the Strategic Laboratory Committee (SLC) of the USGS. The SLC promotes the development of a community of practice for all USGS laboratories.

Prior to joining the USGS, Jeff worked at the Dow Chemical Company for 22 years and served for two years as a visiting scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). While at Dow, Jeff conducted method development research in ultra-trace environmental analysis, adhesive failure analysis, migration of organic and polymeric components in composites and coatings, microanalysis of ceramics and cermets and in non-target analysis. At NCAR, Jeff participated in studies of air pollution in Mexico and Asia.

Jeff received a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. He attended graduate school at Colorado State University where his dissertation research involved mass spectrometry of natural product alkaloids.

Dave Reppert, currently the director of the Water Mission Area's Laboratory and Analytical Services Division, has been serving as the Acting Chief off and on for more than two years. I know I speak for everyone when I say that we appreciate Dave's leadership throughout this period of our search for a new laboratory chief.

Thank you in advance for extending your cooperation to Jeff. I have confidence that Jeff will do an outstanding job as Chief to continue the success of the NWQL. - Donna Myers, Chief OWQ

U.S. Geological Survey - NWQL National Water Quality Laboratory Scientist Recognized Again as a Highly Cited Researcher

Dr FurlongFor the second consecutive year, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientist Dr. Edward T. Furlong has been designated a Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher, ranking among the top one percent of researchers from 2003 to 2016 for most cited documents in their specific field (Environment/Ecology). He previously was listed in Thomson Reuters' "The World's Most Influential Scientific Minds 2015" report.

Dr. Edward T. Furlong, 2016 Highly Cited Researcher who studies the fate, effects, and analysis of Emerging Contaminants in the Environment in his office in Lakewood, Colorado, December 2016. Photo Credit: C.Kopitzke, USGS. Dr. Furlong is an environmental analytical chemist in the Methods Research and Development Program at the USGS National Water Quality Laboratory in Lakewood, Colorado. Dr. Furlong develops and applies new techniques and methods for the highly sensitive and selective analysis of complex mixtures of organic contaminants (such as pesticides and pharmaceuticals) in water, sediment, biota, and other matrixes. He has coauthored more than 100 journal articles and more than 25 USGS reports.

Dr. Furlong works collaboratively with scientists from across the USGS and with colleagues in other government agencies, universities and the private sector. His efforts with a team of USGS scientists provided the first published documentation on the national occurrence of a wide variety of hormones, pharmaceuticals, personal care products, and other wastewater contaminants present in surface waters throughout the United States in 2002. One of the many projects that Dr. Furlong is involved with is the USGS Toxic Substances Hydrology Program's Emerging Contaminants in the Environment Investigation. READ MORE...

Dr. Steven D. Zaugg and 4 other USGS Scientists Recognized as Highly Cited Researchers

Late Dr ZaugDr. Steven D. Zaugg (1955-2013), was recognized (along with Drs. Michael T. Meyers and Ed Furlong in the Water and Environmental Health Mission Areas), in the 2016 Highly Cited Researchers 2016 list from Clarivate Analytics (formerly part of Thomson Reuters). You can read the USGS recognition roundup article here. More about the Highly Cited Researchers list can be found here.

“The inclusion of Steve Zaugg in the Highly Cited Researchers list is a really bittersweet and belated recognition for the contributions of a really talented, humble, and great person. Steve is still sorely missed, as a colleague and friend.” - Edward T. Furlong, Ph.D.

“Steve was a prolific researcher, in part because he was a creative scientist that had a very intuitive understanding of analytical organic chemistry - and his collaborators loved to tap into his knowledge. He was naturally curious and his attitude was infectious.

Also: Congratulations to Ed for making the list again! It has been a pleasure to work with you and witness the influence you’ve had on the field of Emerging Contaminants.” - Jeff McCoy

“As a colleague of both Ed and Steve, I recognize the important contributions to environmental science made by both of them and congratulate them. And I share Ed’s feelings about Steve, he was a great guy and a great scientist and is sorely missed.” - Peter Van Metre, Ph.D.

“I worked closely with Steve over many years beginning when I was a very junior scientist. He was tireless and he was unfailingly kind and generous with his time and knowledge. I still think of him often and deeply regret not being able to call him with one of the many questions I know he would have answered effortlessly. He is sorely missed. I have also had the pleasure of working with Ed for many years and offer hearty congratulations for his well-deserved recognition. We are very fortunate at USGS to have productive, top tier researchers who are also generous mentors. I appreciate the opportunity to learn and grow with colleagues like Steve and Ed every day.” - Elena Nilsen, Ph.D.

"I have known Steve and Ed for 30 years or more. Additionally, I had the high honor of working directly with Steve for the last couple years of his life as he was transitioning the Organohalogen Methods from the Method’s Research and Development Program to Analytical Services. He was a brilliant and very humble mentor and has been missed by all. With the work of Steve and Ed rooted in the MRDP and my own work in Analytical Services, I stand on their shoulders. Their work has always been on the cutting edge of environmental chemistry and they have raised the bar for the rest of us. Making the list as “Highly Cited Researchers” is an honor well deserved and a testament to the significance of their work." - Dennis Markovchick

"The inclusion of Steve and Ed on this list reflects the innovative nature and importance of the work done by the MRDP group at the NWQL. Many of us depend on the world-class methods that this group has pioneered. This recognition is well deserved and demonstrates the importance of these researchers in particular, and the NWQL in general, in the Environmental Science Community." - Patrick Phillips

"Dr. Furlong, along with all the other Principal Investigators in our Methods Research and Development Program, is the bedrock of the National Water Quality Laboratory. They allow us to be on the forefront of analytical techniques to describe the quality of the earth’s hydrology. Steve Zaugg was a kind, driven researcher, who was willing to help anyone in the lab with a problem, while at the same time handling significant health problems of his own. The recognition for Steve and Ed are well deserved." - Dave Reppert

"Ed and Steve have both been integral members of the Toxic Substances Hydrology Program’s Contaminants of Emerging Concern in the Environment Project. The success of this project would not have been possible without their efforts to develop the analytical tools used for this high-profile research. While Steve’s contribution was cut short (his passing still saddens me), Ed continues to push the envelope with his efforts. Their inclusion on this list of “highly cited researchers” is a well deserved testament to their efforts." - Dana Kolpin

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