Studies determine coastal contamination after Sandy and improve environmental health assessment capabilities

Last edited 09/05/2019
Contact Information

Contact: Michael Focazio (USGS),, (703) 648-6808

The U.S. Geological Survey will soon publish an assessment of environmental contaminants that have persisted in sediments, groundwater, fish and mussels several months after Hurricane Sandy and provide ways to improve assessments of environmental contaminants associated with future storms.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) studied a range of environmental contaminants in sediments, groundwater, fish and mussels in estuaries and beaches throughout New Jersey and New York in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Results from these studies, which will be published soon, provide:

  • primary data and interpretations of contaminants in the environment many months after Hurricane Sandy;
  • evidence of the sources of these contaminants such as compromised wastewater infrastructure and dredged sediment used in beach dune replenishments;
  • comparisons of contaminant occurrence before and after the storm in Barnegat Bay, and;
  • new baseline data that can be used in evaluation of future storm impacts.

To address the need for communities to anticipate and mitigate contamination hazards from coastal storms and sea-level rise, the USGS has established the Sediment-Bound Contaminant Resiliency and Response (SCoRR) project. SCoRR will prioritize co-location of pre-storm and post-storm data in key habitats and public spaces and establish metrics of environmental contaminant threats to ecosystems and the public that may persist in the aftermath of floods, hurricanes or sea-level rise. A pilot demonstration of the SCoRR strategy is currently underway throughout the Northeast. These projects are being conducted in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the benefit of local, regional and national stakeholders such as the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and local public health organizations.


More information:

USGS’ Strategy to Evaluate Persistent Contaminant Hazards Resulting from Sea Level Rise and Storm-derived Disturbances

Chemical and ancillary data associated with bed sediment, young of year Bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix) tissue, and mussel (Mytilus edulis and Geukensia demissa) tissue collected after Hurricane Sandy in bays and estuaries of New Jersey and New York, 2013–14

Estuarine Bed-Sediment-Quality Data Collected in New Jersey and New York after Hurricane Sandy, 2013

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