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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
Return to Division of Science and Research

Water Quality Research

Water quality research studies include: forecasting algal blooms, bioassessment studies, ecological evaluations, nutrient concentrations in streams and Mercury deposition in aquatic systems.

Staff Expertise

Standards and Human Health

Gloria Post

Reconnaissance of Surface Water Estrogenicity and the Prevalence of Intersex in Smallmouth Bass (Micropterus Dolomieu) Inhabiting New Jersey (2020)
Abstract | Research Project Summary

The Division of Science and Research (DSR), in cooperation with NJDEP Bureau of Freshwater and Biological Monitoring (BFBM) and the USGS Water Science Center, performed a reconnaissance study of estrogenicity in surface water and the prevalence of intersex in smallmouth bass across the state. This project was initiated after a 2008-2010 study of 19 sites in the Northeastern United States found a high prevalence of intersex smallmouth bass, with one site, the Wallkill River in Sussex County, New Jersey, having a 100% prevalence of intersex smallmouth bass. This project implemented a two-step process to first evaluate the level of estrogenicity in the surface water and then to evaluate the prevalence and the level of intersex in the smallmouth bass population. Surface water samples were collected at 101 (85 river, 16 lake/reservoir) sites across the state during baseflow conditions to be screened for estrogenicity using a bioassay. Levels of estrogenic activity were detectable at 90% of the sites, with 64% of the sites having levels of estrogenicity above the Environmental Protection Agency’s 1 ng/L E2Eqblyes trigger value. Median surface water estrogenicity across all sites was 1.8 ng/L and a maximum of 6.9 ng/L E2Eq(BLYES) was observed. Approximately nine male smallmouth bass were collected, pre-spawn, from each of nine of the 101 sites and were evaluated for the presence and number of oocytes detected in the testicular tissue. Intersex was identified in fish at all sites, with the composite intersex prevalence being 93.8%. Prevalence across the sites ranged from 70.6% at Boonton Reservoir to 100% at Splitrock, Canistear, and Yards Creek Reservoirs. This project established a baseline prevalence of intersex in male smallmouth bass in the state of New Jersey at a limited number of select locations, in addition to identifying several waterbodies that showed estrogenic activity above an effects-based threshold.

A Reconnaissance of Contaminants of Emerging Concern in Wastewater and Sludge from Three Publicly Owned Treatment Works in New Jersey

(April 2018)

The character of wastewater, landfill leachate, and sludge taken from three New Jersey regions (Areas) was assessed for multiple contaminants of emerging concern to determine the likelihood of occurrence in various types of developed areas; including residential, commercial, industrial (including two areas with pharmaceutical processing), and hospital/retirement areas.  The three geographic areas studied contained a total of twenty-six sampling sites from throughout the sewershed and influent, effluent, and sludge from each of the area’s publicly owned treatment works (POTW).  Landfill leachate from one location in each of the three areas was analyzed for a suite of compounds.

Pollution Minimization Plans and PCB Source Trackdown in Camden City
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(August 2008)

A PCB source trackdown study was performed in Camden, New Jersey using the sewer collection system of a municipal utility authority (MUA). Sampling and analytical techniques were developed to identify PCB sources using innovative desktop, field and analytical methods including high resolution gas chromatography and mass spectroscopy; the quantitation of 124 separate PCB congeners for source signatures; the use of passive in-situ continuous extraction samplers (PISCES); and the use of electronic data interfaced with a GIS system to geographically isolate potential sources.

NJ Toxics Reduction Workplan for NY-NJ Harbor (NJTRWP)

Bioassessment Integration Study: Systems Ecology Evaluation of US EPA Rapid Bioassessment Protocols in New Jersey (Macroinvertebrates, Periphyton, Fish, and Habitat)
(March 2006)

The purpose of this project was to analyze 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 uplands physiographic regions (Piedmont, Ridge and Valley, Highlands)

Forecasting Algal blooms in Surface Water Systems with Artificial Neural Networks - June 2006
The original objectives of this study were: 1) to assess the feasibility of using artificial neural networks (ANNs) as a real-time tool for accurately forecasting cyanobacteria counts, more commonly known as blue-green algae, in surface water systems; 2) through sensitivity analyses conducted with the ANNs, identify critical climate, hydrologic, and water quality factors (i.e. variables) that may influence algae levels; 3) assess the feasibility of using ANNs with formal optimization for optimizing water treatment processes for reducing algae levels; 4) assess and provide guidance for improving data collection/organization for the purpose of improving algae level forecasting capability with the ANN technology

New Jersey Periphyton Bioassessment Development Projects Trophic Diatom Inference Models and Index Development for New Jersey Wadeable Streams (2000 - 2005) - The Academy of Natural Sciences (ANS) located in Philadelphia, PA entered into a contract with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJ DEP) for the purpose of developing algal indicators of stream and river eutrophication.


Reports & Project Summaries

Division of Science and Research
Dr. Gary A. Buchanan, Director

Phone: (609) 984-6070
Fax: (609) 292-7340