hunt for pesticides in water Installing and testing 225 monitoring wells
throughout the state is the basis of this program funded by the Department of Agriculture.
The data will help determine which pesticides can be used safely, and the proper
application rates to protect groundwater from contamination.
analysis and mapping Cooperative studies of water resources are fundamental
work of the Surveys. Field drilling, lab analyses of samples, monitoring of water yields,
mapping of the depth and distribution of water-yielding deposits, and modeling of flow
systems have helped in evaluating water-resource options in every county of Illinois;
recently, in Carroll, De Kalb, De Witt, Douglas, Jersey, Jo Daviess, Livingston, McLean
and Tazewell (Mahomet Valley aquifer), Peoria, Piatt, and Shelby Counties.
Assessing soil contamination at agrichemical facilities: the
denser the data coverage, the better At two sites, scientists took four
samples from 15-foot-deep holes bored on a 40-foot grid. Lab analyses for 62 chemicals
disclosed widespread contamination at the sandy site and three hot spots at the clayey
site. Detections of pesticides dropped with depth at both sites, but concentrations were
Gases and leachates escaping from two landfills,
detected via isotopes Analyzing water samples for compounds with distinctive
isotopic "signatures' (based on atomic weight) can be useful for gaining information
about aquifers: (1) source of contaminants, (2) source of recharge, and (3) age of water
(how fresh it is). A new, state-of-the-art Flow-through Compound Specific Isotope Ratio
Mass Spectrometer will make it possible to detect even smaller amounts of contaminants in
Dredging the Grand Calumet Industries and sewage
have polluted this major river system on Chicago's south side for more than I 00 years. To
provide data for decisions about navigational dredging of the waterway, Survey scientists
sampled and analyzed river sediments. Sediments in some areas of the river are heavily
contaminated with metals and organic chemicals.
Coal ash disposal in
abandoned mines One way to dispose of power plant coal ash is to put it
underground. To test this solution, researchers injected combustion byproducts into an
abandoned coal mine, then monitored the groundwater, as well as modeled the movement of
contaminants. Modeling results show that, under realistic conditions, no contaminants will
move from the mine; so the method is a safe means of disposal.
filtered from drinking water Survey engineers, working with the Mattoon
water department, are studying the effectiveness of advanced ceramic micro-filters for
reducing turbidity and removing microorganisms from surface water. The new technology
looks promising for small water utilities seeking to comply with increasingly stringent
standards of the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Tracking metals in
Lake DePue wildlife area Survey teams are helping DNR identify and
quantify metals in sediments dredged from the lake and pumped into ponds. A total
of 45 monitoring wells will identify any migration of contaminants. Knowing the
distribution of metals and their potential to migrate will aid DNR in long-term management
of the site.
Livestock waste lagoons Survey scientists give
expert testimony based on their research on designing large-scale waste lagoons to prevent
spills and leakage. They are also monitoring groundwater for potential leakage at unlined
Prevent pollution, cut costs Survey engineers
helped a Chicago metal plating firm evaluate and adopt alternative processes and
technologies that have improved efficiency while reducing waste generation. The firm has
reduced metal pollutant discharges by more than 95% and water consumption by more than
90%. The company has saved thousands of dollars in raw materials usage and waste disposal
costs as a result of these efforts.
Innovative filtration technology cuts a company's
hazardous wastes from 20,000 to 30 gallons per year Survey engineers
helped a Bloomington metals fabrication firm develop and implement a filtration system
that has drastically reduced a huge, expensive waste problem. The company dips metal parts
into a 5,000-gallon bath of water and chemicals. When the solution got too dirty, about
four times per year, the tank was dumped. Total cost: $30,000. The new filtration system
reduced the waste volume by more than 99% and chemical raw material costs by about
70%. Capital investment in the technology was paid back in less than 6 months.
Waste tires Survey engineers are testing whether
waste tires could be a low-cost source of carbon adsorbents to remove mercury and other
toxins from flue gases, or to prevent unburned hydrocarbons like gasoline from being
released into the atmosphere. Eliminating tire dumps also eliminates a major breeding
ground for disease-carrying species of mosquitoes.
Quantity, Quality, SafetyThe Scientific Surveys map, measure, and monitor surface and
groundwater throughout the state. Fully 90% of lllinois' rural population relies on
groundwater for household, business, and agricultural use.
Focus of studies:where are surface and groundwater supplies adequate
for growing communities?
what is the quality of a given region's water resource?
where are water sources vulnerable to drought or contamination?
ISSUE: Waste Solutions,
Think of waste as a potential resource. Plant
managers are encouraged to think of waste as a raw material they bought and paid for, but
failed to fully utilize. Now they're paying someone to dispose of it.
Focus of studies:working with businesses and citizens to develop and
install technologies that solve pollution problems,
helping businesses reduce compliance costs and improve the environment by increasing
developing new technologies to turn coal and waste tires into high-value carbons that
can capture pollutants.