Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station [The New Jersey Water Resources Research Institute]

NJ Department of Environmental Protection Research

Summaries of Recent Research - Available Reports - Journal Articles

Table of Contents: Summaries of Recent Research


Bioassessment Integration Study: Systems Ecology Evaluation of US EPA Rapid Bioassessment Protocols in New Jersey (Macroinvertebrates, Periphyton, Fish, and Habitat)

The purpose of this project was to analyize existing fish, macroinvertebrate, and algal data to develop new methods for integrated stream bioassessment protocols. The goals of the project were divided into five main tasks with analyses focusing on data collected in New Jersey and adjacent states from sites in upland physiographic regions (Piedmont, Ridge and Valley, Highlands):

  1. Compile data on macroinvertebrate, fish, and algal assemblages and associated site and watershed characteristics from the New Jersey uplands and adjacent upland areas. Compile data on mussels and odonates from the New Jersey Endangered and Nongame Species Program.
  2. Collate and link data to allow joint analyses of intercorrelations among assemblages. This involves linking data from different taxonomic groups from identical or nearby sites, comparing sampling protocols from different data sources and selecting data to allow joint analysis.
  3. Use literature on ecological response to stressors and existing bioassessment programs to define candidate metrics of assemblage structure. Calculate these metrics of assemblage structure for different taxonomic groups and compare the correlation strucutre of metrics withing and among taxonomic groups

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Project: Characterization of NOM and DBP Precursors in the Delaware and Raritan Canal and Middlesex Water Treatment Train

Topic: Impact of pollution on ecological systems

Need: The current New Jersey Surface Water Quality Standards (N.J.A.C. 7:9B1:12) provide the following definition of drinking water supply designated use: ‘All surface waters classified in New Jersey as Fresh Water 2 (FW2) should be of sufficient quality to be used for public potable supply after conventional treatment’. Natural organic matter (NOM) plays a major role in impacting drinking water treatment (i.e., increased coagulant and disinfectant dosage, formation of DBPs, regrowth of bacteria in the distribution system and biological stability). The drinking water need is to rapidly (within minutes) characterize organic matter and DBP precursors for the utility to optimize their treatment processes to enhance the quality of delivered drinking water. This project will evaluate the source NOM characteristics as well as the modifications that occur during the drinking water treatment process.

Methods: The work proposed herein will be performed at the New Jersey Applied Water Research Center (NJAWRC), recently established in collaboration with the water industry through NJAWWA and NJDEP. The proposed research project will involve the characterization through resin isolation and fractionation methods along 4 locations at the Middlesex Water Plant: 1) Raw-before permanganate addition at Middlesex Water’s plant; 2) Raw-after permanganate addition; 3) sedimentation effluent, and 4) filtration effluent. In addition, the Elizabethtown Water Co. raw water at the Delaware & Raritan Canal intake will be sampled. The duration of sampling will be over a 12-month period beginning July 2004.

The frequency of the sampling collection will be every quarter, with up to 2 sampling events done at storm events, designated by Middlesex Water. DBP (THMs and haloacetic acids (HAAs)) formation potential (FP) tests will be performed on all original pre-fractionated samples and their fractions to determine their reactivities. Also, jar testing will be performed on the intake samples (fractions and pre-fractionated samples) to determine optimal coagulant and polymer dosage for DBP precursor removal. DOC and UV-254 will be performed. The DOM fractions (before and after the formation potential tests) will be analyzed and trained by the SFS technique. Preliminary results of work conducted on the development of the SFS technique (Marhaba, 2000) promises to determine problematic fractions (precursors) of DOM rapidly through the additional use of chemometric models (Marhaba et al. 2002) that were developed for “rapid and easy to use” application.

Benefits: This project will evaluate the (DOC) removal from a facility that has recently installed the newest type of multimedia filtration system. With the enhanced coagulation and filtration requirements for organic carbon removal contained in federal legislation requirements of the long term enhanced surface water treatment rule, purveyors need to assess the efficiency of their treatment process. This benefits the state by enhancing our understanding of the practical limitations for maximizing the removal of organic carbon for other facilities throughout New Jersey and will serve as a basis for future state regulations on TOC in source water.

Project Manager: Lippincott, Lee - Research in progress

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FY 04 - Contract

Project: NJ Toxics Reduction Workplan for NY-NJ Harbor : Data Integration - Water Quality and Hydrodynamics

Need: As part of the New Jersey component of the Contaminant Assessment and Reduction Program for NY-NJ Harbor, hydrodynamic and water and suspended sediment quality studies (Phase 1, NJTRWP) have been completed in Newark Bay, the Arthur Kill, and the Kill van Kull. The NJTRWP program used a combination of fixed mooring stations and shipboard measurements. Hydrodynamic measurements included current profiles using a towed acoustic Doppler current profiler, and conductivity-temperature-depth measurements using a CTD system. Water quality and suspended sediment samples were analyzed for the concentration of various metals, dissolved and particulate carbon, and a host of organic compounds (including PCBs, PCDD/F, PAHs, and pesticides).

Preliminary analysis of the data indicate that the Newark Bay - Kills system responds to a complex combination of forcing influences, including tide, wind, and freshwater inflow. These influences are responsible for dramatic variations in hydrodynamic and sediment transport characteristics. The goal of the NJTRWP continues to be the development of a complete understanding of the contaminant transport pathways within the estuarine system. This goal has not been completely achieved because it has been difficult to interpret the water quality and sediment data, collected at great effort and expense, in terms of the estuarine circulation. The hydrodynamic data is neither continuous enough in time nor in space to place the water quality data with its own inherent variability in its proper context.

Methods: An in-depth integration of hydrodynamic, meteorological, and water quality data will be completed using the previously collected data. The synthesis of the chemical data with meteorological and hydrodynamic conditions will allow fate and transport pathways in the NY/NJ Harbor Estuary to be better elucidated. The period of interest is December 2000 to November 2002.

Task 1: to infer contaminant transport pathways, time series plots of all the data using a common horizontal time axis will be created. The time series parameters used will be currents, water levels, and salinity, at the locations where the water quality and sediment samples were collected. Ancillary data, for example freshwater inflows and winds, will also be part of the analysis. The existing hydrodynamic data is not always concomitant in time or in space with the water quality and sediment measurements.

Task 2: the missing hydrodynamics data needs to be interpolated both in time and in space to complete the time series records. The best way to interpolate hydrodynamic data is by using a three dimensional mathematical model of water movement and mixing physics; such a model is currently under development at Stevens for the Newark Bay – Kills system. The region is being modeled by Stevens at a far greater grid resolution than that available from the CARP modeling program.

Task 3: time series plots of SS, carbon, total mercury and 2,3,7,8 TCDD (the most toxic PCDD/F congener) will be developed. These time series will be very similar to those developed for the hydrodynamic data in Task 1 and will assist in the identification of interactions between the hydrodynamic data (i.e., currents, water levels, and salinity) and the water quality data. Statistical analyses of the correlation between the hydrodynamic and water quality data will be performed to identify key monitoring parameters. The proposed work will involve regression analysis between concentrations of 2,3,7,8 TCDD (as a representative organic compound), Total Hg, and some relevant and easier to obtain physicochemical parameters (e.g., SS, POC, and salinity), as well as physical parameters (e.g., currents, water levels and freshwater discharge). A correlation matrix containing all pertinent variables will be developed and analyzed.

Benefits: This project will provide an integration of the Phase 1 NJ Toxics Reduction Workplan hydrodynamics and water quality data (for Total Hg and 2,3,7,8-TCDD and associated parameters) over the time period December 2000 to November 2002. This will provided a better understanding of contaminant transport and fate within the estuary. Modeling of this data using the fine-scale Stevens model of the Newark Bay-Kills system will also provide a quality check on the outputs from the CARP model (under development).

Project Manager: Pecchioli, Joel - Research in progress

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FY 04 - Contract

Project: Development of Adsorption Filtration Process for Virus Removal in Drinking Water

Treatment - Year 2

Topic: Previous work has demonstrated that a fine-grained adsorption media can absorb viruses (coliphage) in water. More than 6 orders of magnitude of viruses can be removed from water by this media in laboratory column experiments.

Studies to examine the effect of the presence of natural organic matter (NOM) in water on the adsorption process were initiated. In year 2, the goal will be to further study the effect of NOM on virus removal during long-term filter runs.

Adsorption filtration (AF) modules of rectangular and coaxial configuration will be constructed and tested for pilot-scale implementation of AF technology.

Scope of Work:

Need: Many but not all human pathogenic viruses are inactivated by chemical disinfectants such as chlorine. Conventional filters such as rapid sand or sand/anthracite filters, used to treat surface source waters and in a few cases groundwaters, do not reduce virus concentrations very much. This is because virus particles are small compared to the filter particles and thus there is little physical occlusion of the virus particles. Certain membrane filters such as ultra- or nanofilters and reverse osmosis filters effectively remove viruses but are expensive, subject to cracking or leakage, and are not amenable to high volume water treatment processes. Groundwater sources in NJ are, in most cases, not filtered prior to disinfection and distribution. In addition, many non-community water systems (e.g., schools, factories, restaurants and the like) offer neither disinfection nor filtration. Therefore, a cost-effective high-volume virus filter would be of great benefit to the water treatment industry. This proposal is for funding phase 2 work including studying the effect of natural organic matter on virus removal efficiencies and filter scale-up design.

Year 1 Accomplishments- A novel virus adsorption filtration (AF) technology was tested and shown to remove greater than six orders of magnitude of certain surrogate viruses (coliphage) from seeded samples of laboratory water and simulated groundwater. Coliphage are bacterial viruses that are similar to human enteric viruses in size and environmental survival characteristics, but easier to prepare and work with than human enteric viruses.

1) The effect of natural organic matter present in groundwater on virus removal efficiency during long-term filter runs will be examined using NJ GW samples and additional simulated GW samples (lab water with added natural organic matter). This will define the intrinsic capacity of a 5-cm thick AF packed bed filter.

2) Models and methods will be used to scale up two AF designs, rectangular and coaxial, for actual implementation of the AF technology in the field.

Benefits: A cost-effective, high-volume, low-maintenance virus filter could be employed at many groundwater systems in NJ which do not currently filter their water. Such filters might also be useful as “polishing filters” at surface water treatment plants currently using conventional filters such as rapid sand filtration. If such virus filters can be successfully designed and operated, they could ensure microbe-free potable water (except for post-treatment microbe contamination, which infrequently occurs within some distribution systems). The Bureau of Safe Drinking Water would be interested in advocating or possibly even specifying a technology (AF) that encompasses an inexpensive, relatively “passive” process that removes viruses as well as other potentially pathogenic microbes (e.g., bacteria, parasites) from groundwater.

Project Manager: Atherholt, Thomas - Research in progress

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FY 04 - Contract

Project: Investigation of Health Information on Unregulated Contaminants Found in NJ Drinking Water

Need: In several recent investigations DEP/DSRT and the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute (EOHSI) have detected a large number of chemical contaminants in drinking water that are not normally analyzed or investigated in standard drinking water analyses. These contaminants are also not currently regulated. Many of these contaminants have not previously been observed in drinking water and little or no consideration has been given to implication for public health of their occurrence in the water supply. As a first step in the assessment of the public health impact of the occurrence of these chemicals, and the eventual development of a regulatory policy, it is necessary to gather any existing information on the chronic health effects of these contaminants.

Preliminary work has identified health effects data on mutagenicity, tumorigenicity, and developmental/reproductive effects for 52 of these contaminants. This project will evaluate this information in detail and seek information on other effects (chronic/subchronic) for these and the other chemicals that are relevant to drinking water exposure. This information will be used to consider expanding the scope of routine monitoring of drinking water and thus expanding the extent of public health protection provided by drinking water monitoring.

Methods: Available primary data cited in the databases on mutagenicity, tumorigenicity, evelopmental/reproductive, and acute/subchronic toxicity (both positive and negative studies) will be obtained to the extent feasible, through resources including the Library of Science and Medicine and DEP Information Resource Center . Further searches on Toxline/Medline will be performed to determine if any additional data is available for the chemicals of interest.

The available information will be summarized and evaluated, including the following:

- Summary of study protocol and results.

- Evaluation of any problems or deficiencies with study design, conducts, or results.

- Evaluation of relevance of study design to drinking water risk assessment (e.g., route of exposure (relevant or irrelevant)).

- Overall evaluation of data on the chemical - extent of data base on chemical, quality of data, relevance to drinking water risk assessment.

For any chemicals for which data is considered sufficient to perform a quantitative risk assessment relevant to drinking water exposure, develop a preliminary health based concentration and compare to levels found in TIC study.

Benefits: This project will provide needed health information on the currently unregulated synthetic organic chemicals detected in drinking water supplies at low levels. This information is especially important in regard to the current consideration of the “Family of Chemicals” approach for removal of unregulated contaminants from drinking water. The results of this project will provide insight into the potential health effects of the types of chemicals which are the focus of this proposed “Family of Chemicals” approach.

Project Manager: Post, Gloria - Research in progress

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FY 04 - Contract

Project: Modification of Rutgers Contract: Impact of Climate Change on New Jersey Water

Topic: As a supplement to the continuing DEP project on understanding the impacts of future climate change on New Jersey water resources, this proposal seeks funds to support a postdoctoral researcher to produce detailed scenarios of future climate change with a regional atmospheric model coupled to a new detailed streamflow and water table model for New Jersey . Estimates of future climate from global climate models and estimates of the frequency of future droughts that have been developed with current funding will be used to drive these newly available models. The objective of this research is to use detailed, physically-consistent scenarios of future climate change to examine the impacts on water resources in New Jersey .

Methods: The project funds a study of global general circulation climate models to find the best models touse for evaluating the impacts of climate change on New Jersey . The research is comparing the simulations of these models for the current climate to observations to determine which ones do a good job of simulating our climate. Then these models are used to develop low-resolution estimates of the future climate for New Jersey , and to develop boundary forcing for running a high-resolution model, the Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (RAMS). Estimates of the future drought frequency for New Jersey from the low-resolution climate model runs are also being developed. In parallel, a model of streamflow and water table depths for the entire state of New Jersey , taking into consideration the detailed geology of the state was developed. This model requires input of precipitation, atmospheric temperature, downward solar radiation, and other variables on a fine grid and produces time series of streamflow, soil moisture, and water table depths on this same fine grid. It is now ready to be used.

In this supplement, an additional funding is requested to conduct the scenario creation and collaborate on hydrology modeling calculations. Prof. Reinfelder will run the hydrology model in collaboration with Prof. Robock, and her feedback on the results and her model’s requirements will help to refine the calculations and produce useful input for hydrological analysis. The hydrology model will be used to refine calculations and produce useful input for hydrological analysis.

Benefits: The project will produce scenarios of future climate change for New Jersey using a detailed climatic database, high-resolution model runs. It will improve the understanding of the impacts of future climate change on water resources in New Jersey . This information will be crucial for planning future reservoirs and water distribution systems in New Jersey .

Project Manger: Polissar, Alex - Research in progress

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FY 04 - Contract

Project: A Pilot Study to Evaluate Methyl Mercury Levels in Sewage Sludge

Need: Mercury concentrations reported in sewage sludge represent total mercury. However, there has been some debate in the scientific community with regards to the presence or potential for methylmercury to be present in sewage sludge, or to be created during certain land application operations.

Federal regulations for the land application of sewage sludge include a standard for mercury on the basis of human health (specifically risks to children from direct ingestion). Because mercury has been detected in sewage sludge, sewage sludge management operations were evaluated and included in the 2002 Mercury Task Force report and recommendations. The Task Force Report estimated that the total quantity of mercury in New Jersey sewage sludge is about 750 pounds per year, and is not likely more than about 1,000 pounds.

Thus, the Task Force Report included recommendations to:

- Obtain a better understanding of the species of mercury present in sewage sludge;

- Obtain a better understanding of the fate and transport of mercury in the land application of sewage sludge; and

- Review new or revised risk assessment data for mercury exposure by pathway, and revise, if appropriate, standards for mercury content of sewage sludge by management method.

Subsequent to the creation of the Mercury Task Force and the release of the final Mercury Task Force Report in January 2002, the National Resource Council was commissioned by the USEPA and their July 2002 report, Biosolids Applied to the Land: Advancing Standards and Practices included a discussion of specific issues to consider in updating the risk assessment for mercury. The NRC report noted the importance of the form in which mercury is present in sewage sludge by stating, "the speciation of mercury in land-applied biosolids is a critical factor in assessing its fate and transport. EPA assumed that mercury in soil from land application of biosolids was similar in toxicity and bioavailability to mercuric chloride, a highly water-soluble form of inorganic mercury. However, methylmercury has been shown to be present in biosolids-amended soils (Cappon 1981, 1984; Carpi et al. 1997)." Specifically, the NRC report also recommends "a revised multipathway risk assessment be performed for the currently regulated pollutants, with particular attention paid to arsenic and to indirect exposure pathways for cadmium and mercury."

Methods: Previous total mercury sludge results will be reviewed jointly with NJDEP for selection of approximately 8 sites with observed levels > 5 mg/kg, and approximately 4 to 8 sites with observed levels residing from the total mercury method detection limit (MDL) and < 5 mg/kg. Consideration will include selection of representative sites within each of the two groups.

NJDEP personnel will provide the selected sludge samples (sampling according to current NJDEP practices, and/or using procedures currently under development). A minimum of three samples per site is anticipated. A microwave-assisted extraction method recently developed at EOHSI, Rutgers , will be employed using a mixture of organic and inorganic solvents with resultant high extraction efficiency. Samples will be analyzed by ion chromatography coupled to inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Reaction conditions will be controlled carefully in order to prevent incomplete extraction or interconversion of species during extraction. The developed method has successfully been applied to the determination of mercury species in a NIST soil standard reference material with a certified total mercury concentration.

- Finalization of site selection - August 2004

- NJDEP Sampling of sites - September 2004

- Compile and evaluate results of mercury speciation analyses - December 2004

- Prepare report for presentation of data with recommendations - March 2005

Benefits: This grant funded (USEPA, 104b3) project will help fill a critical data gap with regards to the speciation of mercury in sewage sludge, which will assist the Department in determining whether the current rules assumptions are correct and sufficient for protection of public health and the environment from mercury in sewage sludge. It also will help to integrate and implement watershed-based efforts for the reduction of a persistent and toxic compound known to be a concern in many New Jersey watersheds. In addition, the project will assist in the implement of Section 405(d) of the Clean Water Act’s requirements to establish health-based standards for contaminants in biosolids.

Project Manger: England , Randy - Research in progress

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FY 04 - Contract

Project: Brown Tide Assessment Project: Development of Indicators of Harmful Brown Tide Blooms

Year 4

Topic: Elevated brown tide blooms, caused by the alga Aureococcus anophagefferens are a recurring problem in New Jersey coastal bays, especially Barnegat Bay and Little Egg Harbor. This project proposal builds upon previous work (2001-03) which included the collection of water samples at eleven water quality network stations from April through September in 2001-03 to characterize the spatial and temporal distribution of brown tide blooms along the New Jersey coast. This work, in combination with previous work, will provide data to investigate possible causative and predictive factors associated with brown tide blooms.

Need: Elevated brown tide blooms, caused by the alga Aureococcus anophagefferens are a recurring problem in New Jersey coastal bays, especially Barnegat Bay and Little Egg Harbor. This project proposal builds upon previous work (2001-03) which included the collection of water samples at eleven water quality network stations from April through September in 2001-03 to characterize the spatial and temporal distribution of brown tide blooms along the New Jersey coast. This work, in combination with previous work, will provide data to investigate possible causative and predictive factors associated with brown tide blooms.

Methods: Because elevated brown tide blooms are chronic phenomena in Little Egg Harbor and Barnegat Bay , and can potentially contribute to negative impacts on shellfish and submerged aquatic vegetation (SAVs), a fourth year of assessment is needed to better characterize the spatial and temporal occurrence of these blooms. Water samples and environmental data (salinity, temperature, etc.) will be collected at 11 stations in the New Jersey Water Quality Network from April through September 2004. The data will be enumerated for brown tide abundance by Aquatic Ecotechnologies (Dave Caron) at University of Southern CA for A. anophagefferens to 1) determine the spatial and temporal characteristics of these blooms; and 2) identify water quality factors, which are associated with brown tide, blooms (e.g., salinity, temperature, nutrients, etc.). The NJDEP Bureau of Marine Water Monitoring, Leeds Point , NJ will conduct nitrogen analysis. Data analysis will include mapping (GIS) and statistical tests to determine the relationship between brown tide abundance and the sampled environmental variables.

Benefits: Watershed, natural resources and permitting programs will use the results of this study to provide adequate environmental protection to shellfish and submerged aquatic vegetation habitat in coastal bays and to communicate accurate information about potential ecological and aesthetic risks to the public to minimize potential negative on the economy of the coastal area (e.g., commercial shell fishing, real estate, etc.). The benefit of this study would be to facilitate the identification of potential contributing factors to brown tide blooms so that managers may identify and develop control strategies for potential land uses contributing to the runoff of organic nutrients that may be promoting the blooms. This study will also fulfill a NJDEP commitment of in-kind match to the grant award from the U.S. EPA as part of the Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms (ECOHAB).

Project Manager: Pecchioli, Joel - Research in progress

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FY 04 - Contract

Project: Investigation of Indoor Air Sources of VOC Contamination, Year 2

Need: The NJDEP Site Remediation Program has experienced a dramatic increase in the number of cases requiring evaluation of indoor air quality because of suspected contamination of the indoor air resulting from migration of volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) from underlying contaminated groundwater. A complicating factor in this evaluation is the fact that several contaminants that are common groundwater contaminants may also have indoor sources from consumer products, building materials, or home furnishings. While there has been past research investigating indoor sources of VOCs, many groundwater contaminants regulated by the NJDEP have not been studied.

Methods: The NJDEP wishes to sample the indoor air in homes that are not near contaminated groundwater cases to fill data gaps in the knowledge base pertaining to indoor levels of VOCs resulting from indoor sources. Using Geographic Information System databases, the investigator will locate residential areas of the state in suburban and rural areas that are not near known contaminated groundwater plumes. The investigator will sample indoor air in 100 homes using a standard USEPA Method (Method TO-15). The samples will be analyzed for all volatile organic chemicals that are regulated by the State of New Jersey . Year 1 funding was reduced due to budget cutbacks, and only 50 samples could be collected and analyzed. The funding for this year 2 project will be to collect and analyze the remaining 50 samples and to conduct final data analysis.

Benefits: The information resulting from this project will be used to determine whether measured VOC concentrations in indoor air are resulting from migration of chemicals from contaminated groundwater or are simply originating from products or building materials within the home. Chemicals whose sources originate in the home are not under the jurisdiction of the Site Remediation Program. Thus, this information will assist the program in determining which homes actually have external (groundwater) sources of contamination and need to be evaluated and remediated.

Project Manager: Sanders, Paul - Research in progress

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Project: UMDNJ Contract for Investigation of Endocrine Disruption Effects of Atrazine on NJ Frogs

Need: Recent scientific studies provide strong evidence that exposure of frog larvae to atrazine, the most commonly used herbicide in the United States and the third most commonly used herbicide in New Jersey , causes hermaphroditism (the occurrence of both male and female sex organs in an individual) in frogs, and demasculinization (reduction in secondary masculine characteristics) in frogs. These are profound endocrine disruption effects. In these studies, the effects on sexual development in the frogs were seen at atrazine concentrations in the water in which the tadpoles developed ranging from 0.1-25 parts per billion. These levels are extremely low and are commonly found in surface waters in NJ. It is thought that widespread use of atrazine and other environmental endocrine disruptors may be a causal factor in global amphibian declines.

This project will determine whether these effects, to-date reported only in laboratory studies, are occurring in frogs in NJ surface waters containing similar levels of atrazine. While the reported effects of atrazine on the sexual development of these frogs are profound, they affect internal organs rather than the gross outward morphology of the frogs, and so may not have been noticed by casual observers.

Methods: This research project will expand on an earlier small pilot project conducted last year. Twelve additional farm pond locations (three were selected during the pilot project) will be selected based on atrazine use: low, medium, and high, as well as a control. Water and frog samples will be collected and analyzed at three periods, as appropriate. Atrazine and related pesticide concentrations in pond water samples will be determined at the laboratories of the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute (EOHSI) using standard methods and following well accepted QA/QC procedures.

Confirmatory water samples may be analyzed by other state or federal labs for atrazine and related triazine compounds.

Representative samples of frogs and tadpoles will be collected by netting or trapping from water bodies associated with various concentration levels of atrazine. After being humanely euthanized using MS222 morphometric measurements will be taken together with blood samples for hematological tests. Necropsies will be performed, abdominal organs grossly assessed with abnormal gross lesions noted, described, and photographed. Tissues designated for pesticide analysis will be removed and prepared for chemical analysis. Tissues for histopathologic examination will be removed, fixed, and prepared for sectioning and evaluation. Standard methods described in the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology Manual will be followed for these procedures. Anatomical and histopathological analysis of collected frog tissues will be conducted to determine if any abnormalities in primary and secondary sexual organs occur which may be atrazine-related. Comparisons will be made of the occurrence of such abnormalities in frogs from high, medium and low atrazine concentration water bodies.

Benefits: This research will provide vital information on the extent of atrazine contamination in selected areas of New Jersey, provide a strong indication of whether atrazine and related pesticides are adversely affecting NJ frog populations, and provide information to mitigate damage, which may be occurring due to such endocrine disruption effects. Additionally, these results will aid our effort to evaluate and eliminate or reduce risks to human health or environmental receptors from source areas of contaminated media.

Project Manager: Ledoux, Thomas - Research in progress

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Project: Susceptibility of Potable Water Distribution Systems to Negative Pressure Transients

Topic: This proposal builds on the results of previous research examining transient pressure changes, which result in potential intrusion of contaminants in areas of cracks, fissures, etc. Hydraulic surge modeling will be performed. The models can identify the primary characteristics that make distribution systems vulnerable to such pressure transients. The research will focus on one or a few systems, but will be applicable to all NJ systems and will permit appropriate and economical corrective actions.

Need: The Principal Investigator and his company have been studying the issue of sudden and temporary changes in the normal operating pressure within drinking water distribution systems. These sudden changes are caused by pump shutdowns, power outages, etc. If the water distribution pipes have cracks, breaks, open joints, etc. (and all systems do to varying extents) and there is contamination exterior to the compromised area, then the contamination can enter the system during these “negative pressure transients” (NPTs). Although sensitive pressure monitors are available, it is not economical or practical, or even possible in the case of large systems, to monitor for pressure transients throughout the system. There is a need to develop a better way to identify locations in distribution systems most vulnerable to NPTs.

Methods: This project will perform hydraulic surge modeling of 5 water treatment plant distribution systems in NJ. The models developed will be used to determine the characteristics that make systems in general vulnerable to NPTs. The studies will be useful to estimate the magnitude and extent of NPTs within drinking water systems.

Benefits: The project will identify characteristics that make distribution systems vulnerable to NPTs. These results can be used by water utilities to focus pressure modeling and monitoring programs on those areas of their systems where NPTs are most likely to occur. This in turn will allow them to identify and implement appropriate and economical corrective actions. The ultimate result will be the ability to deliver water more safely to customers throughout the state. The Bureau of Safe Drinking Water expressed strong interest in funding this project.

Project Manager: Atherholt, Thomas - Research in progress

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Project: Understanding the Relationship between Natural Conditions and Loadings on Eutrophication and Algal Indicators of Eutrophication for NJ Streams and the Integrated Assessment of Ecosystem Condition

Topic: Protocols being tested in three ecoregions in north, need same in coastal

Need: This Algal Periphyton study was initiated in July 2000 and is in the fourth year. The objective of years 1 and 2 of this project were to develop algal indicators in the Piedmont physiographic province in New Jersey . During the third year the study was expanded to include sites in the Highlands and the Ridge and Valley physiographic provinces. Data from sites studied during all three years are currently being used to develop and test indicator metrics. The fourth year of the study extended the development of indicators to the Inner Coastal Plain physiographic province. For the fifth year a routine algae monitoring program for the state will be proposed.

In addition to the research to develop algal indicators, ANS is currently working with NJDEP on an integrated analysis of different biological assessments of New Jersey streams. These assessments include the existing AMNET and FIBI programs, the algal indicator program under development by ANS and NJDEP and analogous data from other regional programs. Information on odonates, molluscs, and threatened/endangered species are also being used in the integrated assessment. The primary objectives of the integrated assessment are to analyze relationships among various indicators and to develop options for using these indicators in assessment and policy-making.

Methods: Periphyton Monitoring

Emphasis of year 5 work will be on technology transfer of research to DEP personnel, and helping establish an effective algal-monitoring program. The three major components of the work will be:

1) creation of documentation, including a methods manual and a photographic guide to identification of diatom species, training of DEP personnel in field and laboratory techniques

2) collection and analysis of some additional samples to further test, and

3) evaluate the procedures and continue the record at the long-term trend sites.

ANS anticipates that the NJDEP personnel will use the methods they developed, and supported by ANS training sessions, to sample one or more sites in each of the main physiographic provinces in New Jersey . This set of samples will serve to initiate the monitoring program and as testing and trial of the approach and procedures. ANS will sample a few sites jointly with NJDEP as part of the training exercises, but the remainder of the sites will be samples by NJDEP only.

Likewise, ANS will work with NJDEP staff on procedures for analysis of some samples, and DEP will have responsibility for analysis of the remainder.

Integrated Assessment Research

ANS proposes to work with NJDEP staff to develop options for assessments of impairment. Tasks for this objective are:

- Review information provided by NJDEP on existing bases of impairment ratings, e.g., rationales for cutpoints between impairment ratings for AMNET and FIBI scores, existing narrative or quantitative standards.

- Determine relationships between existing bases of impairment ratings and outputs of alternative assessment methods, as developed in the existing 2002-2004 integrated assessment study. For example, if composite indices are developed, relationships between scores of these indices and scores and ratings by the existing indices will be investigated.

Relationships will be determined for upland (Piedmont , Valley and Ridge, and Highlands Provinces) sites in New Jersey and for the analogous sites in the integrated assessment database.

- Review published information on use of multiple indicators and determination of cutpoints by other states.

- Investigate adequacy of existing information for revision of cutpoints for impairment ratings.

- Discuss results of the 2002-2004 integrated assessment study and new findings relating to impairment ratings with appropriate NJDEP staff.

- Based on feedback from the NJDEP staff, several alternative approaches to integrated assessment will be selected which are consistent with the major goals of the assessment program; in addition, data gaps for determining appropriate integrated assessment approaches will be identified.

- The findings of the new study will be presented in a final report.

Benefits: Project final products will assist the Division of Watershed Management (TMDLs); Water Monitoring (integrated monitoring and reporting); the Water Assessment Team (Integrated Report (305B and 303D listing) as well as the Standards Group (e.g., more defensible biocriteria and possibly new stream classifications based on broader biological indices).

In addition project final products will assist NJDEP effort to supply data necessary to support the development of NJDEP ‘Nutrient Criteria Development Work Plan’ (EPA has mandated that criteria must be in place by 2004); the Ecologically-Based Flow Goals Project and the Commissioner’s Phosphorous Initiative (i.e., NJPDES and WQBELs)

Project Manager: Belton, Thomas - Research in progress

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Project: The Development of Hydraulic Conductivity Surfaces for Major Aquifers in New Jersey

Topic: The project proposes to collect and digitize all relevant data for each of the formation or geologic groups identified, and develop a valid BME horizontal conductivity surface. Each surface will be delivered in a GIS ready format, along with a database of the collected and digitized input data. Peer review journal articles describing the work will be of tremendous value in individual site remediations and during the development of technical regulations and guidance.

Need: The NJDEP Site Remediation Program (SRP) is responsible for managing about 24,000 contamination cases in New Jersey . Currently, the responsible party reports the geographic extent of groundwater contamination at each site. The many responsible parties perform the extent estimates using every available mathematical method, depending on the size and type of the case. Methods used include manual contouring, digital contouring, IDW, spline, kriging, analytical models and numerical models. Twenty-five percent of the time these responsible party estimates are wrong.

Documented and accepted groundwater modeling software exists which could be used to confirm responsible party estimates, develop natural resources damage assessments, assess water supply, or resolve other groundwater issues. The main barrier to doing this has been the unavailability of statewide information on the horizontal hydraulic characteristics of the different aquifers, as this data is very expensive to collect in the field and is subsequently seldom required by NJDEP. There are not enough field measurements of hydraulic conductivity (hard data set) for any given aquifer to map its variation across space. Otherwise all of the general environmental, site specific, and analytical data needed by these numerical models is available.

Methods: Modern spatio-temporal geostatistical mathematical methods have been developed in the past 2 years, which enable researchers, for the very first time, to formally use soft data sets together with hard data sets while mapping. Hard data are distinct field measurements of the aquifer property, which in this instance are very costly and few in number. Soft data includes interval data, such as that produced by numerical models, covariant relationship with other features, professional judgments, and physical laws. This advance in mathematics gives us the ability to now map horizontal hydraulic conductivity due to the increased amount of statistical information and model derived data values. In this project, all available hydraulic information for an aquifer of interest will be compiled, digitized, and data managed in one place. This includes data NJGS data (hard data), USGS data (hard data), published values for calibrated numerical models in New Jersey (soft data), USEPA data (hard and soft data), select SRP case data (hard and data types), and general literature values (soft data).

Benefits: Horizontal conductivity varies over more orders of magnitude than any other natural characteristic in the environment. Due to the lack of an alliterative, single “average” values are used for entire aquifers, when in reality the conductivity varies over many orders of magnitude from locality to locality. All programs involved with groundwater issues need to calculate flow rates or movements rate for water, whether for contamination tracking or supply assessment. Maps of horizontal hydraulic conductivity will enable rates to be calculated with confidence in the different localities of New Jersey . The digital maps produced from this project will benefit virtually every group in the NJDEP which is involved with groundwater, including: site remediation, water allocation, natural resources damage assessment, researchers, groundwater discharge permits, and others.

Project Manager: Carter, Gail - Research in progress

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Project: Application of New Spatial Methods to Estimate Water Quality in Unmonitoring Stream Reaches, Year 2

Topic: Probabilistic modeling of WQ Data in support of the Water Quality Network

Need: The state of New Jersey is mandated by the federal Clean Water Act to provide an assessment of water quality along all streams and rivers in the state. The biannual State Water Integrated Quality Inventory Report (305b/303d) is the main document used to assess designated use attainment and to direct total maximum daily load (TMDL) development.

However due to historic design faults in the Ambient Stream Monitoring Network (79 stations), only 176 miles (or 3%) of the 6,500 non-tidal stream miles in New Jersey can be assessed. While the network has been redesigned, it will still only answer questions about how much of the resource is impaired. This “new” classical statistical design will provide extremely limited information on where water quality issues exist. The research proposal is a continuation of earlier research that will address this need issue by employing the BME modern spatio-temporal geostatistical approach, so that we can answer questions not only about how much of the water is impaired; but also for what parameters, and where.

Methods: USEPA and the National Research Council have recommended that States use a statistically-based, or probabilistic, monitoring approach as a means for states to more fully evaluate water quality (i.e., Integrated Reporting for 305B and 303d Reports). In light of USEPA’s strong recommendation to use a statistically-based probabilistic monitoring approach

the NJDEP will extend a Pilot Study to a new watershed to test the BME method. Recent textbooks (2000, 2002) and professional paper describe these exciting new advances in spatiotemporal statistics and their application in the environmental field. BME provides a rigorous Bayesian Framework to process historical data, expert knowledge and hydraulic laws available, and produces a more accurate assessment of water quality in unmonitored reaches than can be obtained with classical statistical methods. Classical methods cannot mathematically incorporate much of the historical data, expert knowledge, or hydraulic laws.

This project will focus on the design, implementation and evaluation of a probabilistic monitoring approach and will evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of incorporating a probabilistic BME monitoring component into the NJDEP statewide water quality program. The project will use readily available, existing data from the NJDEP water monitoring network.

Specifically the goal of the research is to apply the Bayesian Maximum Entropy (BME) method of Geostatistics and to assess how BME methods compare to earlier assessments of the existing data, as well as the results of the current classical redesign of the Ambient Monitoring Network information. If the BME Methods work, NJDEP will have another, perhaps more accurate method to employ when evaluating state water quality for the Biannual Integrated Reports (305B/303D) to USEPA.

Benefits: The expected products for this one-year study consist of:

- The results of the BME analysis of mercury on a selected river basin and corresponding surface and groundwater in New Jersey . When completed we will have tested the accuracy of the modern geostatical methods on an urban, fractured rock regime watershed ( Raritan Basin ), and a dominantly rural, unconsolidated coastal plain watershed ( Barnegat Bay or Great Egg Harbor ).

- These results will be provided in a GIS and tabulated (e.g., Access, etc.) format with all the information about the water quality estimates, as well as by means of the set of MATLAB and BMElib used to produce these results. The analysis of error will inform NJDEP if this method will be a substantial improvement over the new, classical statistical network design.

- A joint paper between the University of North Carolina (UNC, Dr. Marc Serre) and NJDEP (Gail Carter, Research Scientist) in a peer reviewed scientific journal on the BME methodological framework for the estimation of water quality at unmonitored stream reaches.

Future research products beyond this year of study will provide results about other watersheds and water parameters, and will eventually consist of a software package for water quality estimation for the TMDL program in New Jersey.

Project Manager: Carter, Gail - Research in progress

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Project: Dispersal to the Environment of Radioactivity (Naturally Occurring Radium) in Waste Load in Fractured-Rock Areas of Northern NJ and Comparison to Southern NJ

Need: The Radium (Ra) in the backwash brine from ion-exchange treatment systems is eventually either (1) hauled to a POTW as it is trapped in biosolids (sludge) in the septic system or (2) dispersed to the environment, likely to soil and shallow groundwater, either as leachate from the septic system or from disposal to a “dry” well. A previous study with sampling and mass balance approach evaluated the fate of the Ra in the southern parts of the State where underlain by the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer system and the Potomac-Raritan-Magothy aquifer system. This ongoing study is comparing the amounts of Ra in septic system effluent and solids in dilute waters and waters that are chemically more complex (iron, carbon, and sulfur rich) among those aquifers.

The goal of this proposed research is to investigate the issues of concern in North Jersey that are:

(1) determining the mass of Ra eventually returning to shallow groundwater from the septic leach field thereby degrading shallow groundwater resources, and comparison to that in southern New Jersey (the baseline);

(2) determining what portion of Ra in chemically complex shallow groundwater is from septic leachate and how much is from aquifer material (by using isotope ratios and by identifying amount of septage present using organic tracers of septic leachate);

(3) determining if Radon (Rn) progeny or Uranium (U) and U progeny are a significant part of the waste load in northern New Jersey , since Rn and U concentrations may be as much as 3 to 4 orders of magnitude higher than those in southern New Jersey , and Rn may exceed Ra concentration by factors from 3 to 6 orders of magnitude; and

(4) determining concentrations of arsenic disposed to the septic system, as arsenic is modestly extracted from the initial drinking water by ion-exchange treatment system.

Methods: A sampling program will be conducted in several fractured-rock areas of northern New Jersey . Water samples will be collected from the following: raw (untreated) from the well; treated from the treatment system; back wash brine; septage; and ultimately down-gradient shallow groundwater after a future drilling program can be completed to obtain the monitoring systems necessary to sample the water table (this shallow groundwater will also be analyzed for tracers of domestic wastewater as well as Ra). Analysis for all phases will be for Ra-226, Ra-228, gross alpha & beta (48 hr),

Rn-222, Lead (Pb-210) or other beta-emitting Rn or U progeny, cations and iron, chloride, nutrients, and carbon. Sludge (composited) from large commercial waste haulers will be sampled and analyzed for Ra-226, Ra-228, gamma emission, and Pb-210 (or other appropriate beta-emitters) in selected cases. Additional beta-emitting Ra progeny may be analyzed based on results of initial investigation to date.


1. Ground-water resource protection is critical. High concentrations of Ra disposed of into septic systems may become mobile in the environment, especially groundwater, and may contaminate wells. Of further concern is additional mobilization of radioactivity from the aquifer material itself by the treatment system brines introduced into the ground water. This issue needs characterization, especially where Ra content is high.

2. Assessment to determine if treatment efficiency or the potential for Ra mobility after disposal as back wash brine into septic systems is different in various aquifers. It is important for targeting specific aspects of treatment and disposal plans at various regions.

3. Development of best management practices for waste disposal requires knowledge of the oncentration of radiation in the waste media. Radium mass loading onto the ion-exchange treatment system and into the back wash waste stream remains poorly characterized. Any long-term waste disposal plan must contain information about the concentrations of Ra to be encountered.

4. Protection of human health is critical – exposure to all the forms of radioactivity need to be minimized, including gamma emissions from Ra progeny. Treatment systems may remove the radiation risk via the ingestion pathway from Ra-rich drinking water, but it is important to determine how much Ra contaminant from back wash brine waste is mobile in shallow groundwater affected by septic effluent. Numerous progeny of Ra are strong gamma emitters. This concern may be especially severe in areas where concentrations of short-lived Ra-224 is high because the rapid decay of Ra-224 in the treatment tank before back washing may lead to quick build up of gamma radiation. For soils, on the other hand, the long-term build up of longer-lived Ra-226 and Ra-228 may represent the most severe likelihood of developing a gamma radiation exposure risk. As a State with considerable amount of Ra-224, Ra-226 and Ra-228 in groundwater, gamma exposure is likely where the Ra becomes concentrated.

5. Development of tracer technology to delineate domestic wastewater plumes may provide long-term benefit in terms of understanding dispersion of these materials and will help develop more effective strategy to protect the groundwater resource in areas with septic systems.

Project Manager: Lippincott, Lee - Research in progress

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Project: Comparison of Conventional and Advanced Water-Treatment Processes to Remove Pharmaceuticals and other Wastewater Related Contaminants from Drinking-Water

Need: Recent Nation- and Statewide water-quality investigations indicate that organic wastewater-related contaminants (OWCs) are frequently detected in streams whose flow is partly comprised of effluent from wastewater treatment (WWT) facilities. These OWCs include; antibiotics and other pharmaceutically-active compounds, animal steroids, reproductive hormones, personal care products, detergent metabolites, fragrances and flavorants, flame retardants and solvents. A large number of WWT facilities that are permitted to discharge effluent into streams and recent sampling by the U.S.

Geological Survey (USGS) confirms that many OWCs are present in streams throughout the State. Because many of these streams are sources for potable supplies there is concern over the occurrence of OWCs in the State’s drinking-water supplies and the potential for adverse human-health effects due to chronic exposure to these contaminants. Indeed, more than 30 OWCs were detected in preliminary sampling of raw- and finished drinking water supplies in New Jersey conducted by the USGS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To date, however, these contaminants have not been routinely monitored for and their fate throughout conventional and advanced water-treatment plants and their occurrence and concentration in finished drinking-water supplies are poorly understood.

Methods: The Passaic Valley Water Commission’s Little Falls Water-Treatment (LFWT) plant provides an optimal location at which to investigate these important water quality and human health issues. The LFWT plant is located in the heavily populated highly urbanized Passaic River drainage basin which includes more than 50 WWT facilities that discharge effluent to the two streams from which the LFWT plant withdraws its raw water supplies. Currently, the LFWT plant utilizes a conventional water treatment process featuring primary and secondary disinfection with sodium hypochlorite. The facility, however, is undergoing renovations to upgrade to an advanced water treatment process that features rapid sand sedimentation (RSS), granular activated carbon (GAC) and ozonation. This renovation is scheduled to be completed in early 2004 providing the rare opportunity to collect and analyze water quality samples while the plant is utilizing conventional and then advanced water treatment processes.

Two surveys are proposed to meet the objectives of this study. The first would be conducted while the LFWT plant is still operating in the current conventional treatment mode. Time-integrated water quality samples will be collected from select locations throughout the plant including raw water, settled water, filtered water, and finished water during 10 sampling events. These samples will be analyzed for more than 100 OWCs and the results statistically evaluated to determine if various unit processes of the overall treatment process significantly reduce the occurrence and concentration of OWCs. A subset of these samples will be spiked in the laboratory to determine if the target OWCs are stable in chemically treated water with a chlorine residual. This data will identify the extent to which chemical and physical unit processes reduce or remove the occurrence of OWCs from raw-water supplies. In addition, samples of settled solids and filter-backwash solids will be collected to determine if flocculation and sedimentation and (or) filtration are significant physical unit processes by which OWCs are removed during the treatment process. The second survey will be similar to the first but conducted after the plant has upgraded to advanced water treatment (RSS, GAC, and ozonation). Results from the two surveys will allow for a comparison of the efficiency with which conventional and advanced water treatment processes that are utilized in New Jersey remove OWCs from raw-water supplies.

Benefits: 1. This study will document the extent to which OWCs are present in water resources used for potable supply thereby allowing State regulators to determine whether or not these compounds are a class of contaminants that might need to be considered by agencies responsible for monitoring the integrity of the State’s water resources and drinking water supplies.

2. This study will document the efficiency with which conventional and advanced water treatment unit processes utilized in New Jersey remove OWCs from raw-water supplies.

3. This study will provide an analytical tool for monitoring the occurrence of unregulated contaminants in raw and drinking water supplies and would provide valuable information for inclusion in the National Drinking Water Contaminant Occurrence Database (NCOD), Contaminant Candidate List (CCL), and the State Source Water Assessment (SWAP) program. These data can be used to support decision making for future drinking water contaminant regulations and to help establish research priorities and future monitoring needs.

4. The database developed during this study will provide a foundation that can be used to address potential human health issues concerning the effects of chronic exposure to low concentrations of OWCs including endocrine disrupting chemicals. No comprehensive database is currently available in New Jersey or the Nation to address these important human health concerns.

The analytical methods developed by the USGS and which will be utilized in this study are being used in nationwide assessments of the potential effects of OWCs on water quality. These nationwide assessments are focusing on a variety of point and nonpoint sources of OWC contamination and will provide an interpretive context both for the results generated by the proposed study and for any future regulatory decision making.

Project Manager: Lippincott, Lee- Research in progress

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Available Reports

Hydrographic Study of Barnegat Bay Mary Downes Gastrich, Ph.D., Qizhong (George) Guo, Ph.D., Norbert P. Psuty, Ph.D., George P. Lordi, Scott Glenn, Ph.D., Matthew R. Mund

Assessment of Historical and Current Trends in Mercury Deposition to New Jersey Aquatic Systems through Analysis of Sediment/Soil Cores - Year Two Mary Downes Gastrich, Ph.D., Edward L. Shuster, Ph.D., Richard F. Bopp, Ph.D., Amy E. Kroenke, Ph.D.

Microbial Source Tracking: Library Based Methods Thomas Atherholt, Ph.D.

A Homeowner's Guide to Arsenic in Drinking Water Prepared by the Division of Science, Research and Technology and the Bureau of Safe Drinking Water

A Guide to Health Advisories for Eating Fish and Crabs Caught in New Jersey Waters NJDEP and NJ Department of Health and Senior Services

Final Workplan: Routine Monitoring Program for Toxics in Fish: Estuarine and Marine Waters Gary A. Buchanan, Thomas Belton , Bruce Ruppel

Holocene sea-level rise in New Jersey: An Interim Report Michael Aucott, Ph.D., Alissa Stanley, Kenneth G. Miller, Peter J. Sugarman

Development of Wetland Quality and Function Assessment Tools and Demonstration Marjorie Kaplan, Colleen A. Hatfield, Jennifer T. Mokes, Jean Marie Hartman

Testing a Wetlands Mitigation Rapid Assessment Tool at Mitigation and Reference Wetlands Within a New Jersey Watershed Marjorie Kaplan, Colleen A. Hatfield, Jennifer T. Mokos

Journal Articles

Assessment of Brown Tide Blooms, caused by Aureococcus anophagefferens, and contributing factors in New Jersey coastal bays: 2000-2002 Harmful Algae 3 (2004) 305-320

Geostatistical Estimation of Horizontal Hydraulic Conductivity for the Kirkwood-Cohansey Aquifer Gail Carter, Vikram M. Vyas, Saichiu N. Tong, Christopher Uchrin, Panos G. Georgopoulos Journal of the American Water Resources Association, February 2004, 187-195

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