Chemical Constituent Concentrations in Stream Water, Streambed Sediment, and Soils of Fort Belvoir, Virginia— A Characterization of Ambient Conditions in 2019

Open-File Report 2020-1059
Prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Army, Fort Belvoir
By:  and 



The U.S. Army Fort Belvoir (FTBL) installation is on the banks of the Potomac River in Fairfax County, northeastern Virginia. The installation was founded by the U.S. Army during World War I. It has been home to a variety of military organizations over the course of its more than 100-year history and currently houses more than 145 mission partners. The installation consists of two noncontiguous units, the Main Post, and a smaller area to the northwest, Fort Belvoir North Area (FTNA). FTBL encompasses 8.91 square miles.

There is concern that activities on FTBL, including a long history of training, operations, and maintenance, may have resulted in contamination of stream water, streambed sediment, and (or) soils. Of particular concern is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Target Analyte List (TAL). TAL refers to “the list of inorganic compounds/elements designated for analysis as contained in the version of the EPA Contract Laboratory Program Statement of Work for Inorganics Analysis, Multi-Media, Multi-Concentration in effect as of the date on which the laboratory is performing the analysis” ( Because of the potential for TAL contamination at FTBL, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with U.S. Army Fort Belvoir, conducted a survey of FTBL’s stream water, streambed sediment, and soils during calendar year 2019.

The terminology “ambient concentrations” is used in this report to represent the concentrations of the TAL and other constituents at the time of sampling. This is in contrast to “background concentrations,” a term that “refers to areas in which the concentrations of chemicals have not been elevated by site activities”. Although some of the samples collected for this project may represent “background concentrations,” there is no assurance that they do, so all data collected are described as having “ambient concentrations.”

The purpose of the study was to obtain environmental data to characterize ambient concentrations of EPA TAL constituents in stream water, streambed sediment, and soils in FTBL, Virginia. This report describes methods and results of sampling stream water, streambed sediment, and soils during 2019. The purpose of this report is four-fold: (1) to describe the field sampling methods used to collect stream water, streambed sediment, and soils; (2) to describe the laboratory methods used to analyze the samples; (3) to report summaries of the field and laboratory results; and (4) to report the quality assurance and quality control results.

Suggested Citation

Rice, K.C., and Chambers, D.B., 2020, Chemical constituent concentrations in stream water, streambed sediment, and soils of Fort Belvoir, Virginia—A characterization of ambient conditions in 2019: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2020–1059, 20 p.,

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Data Collection and Laboratory Methods
  • Summary of Results
  • Acknowledgments
  • References Cited

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Chemical constituent concentrations in stream water, streambed sediment, and soils of Fort Belvoir, Virginia—A characterization of ambient conditions in 2019
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2020-1059
DOI 10.3133/ofr20201059
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Virginia and West Virginia Water Science Center
Description Report: vi, 20 p.; Data Release
Country United States
State Virginia
City Fort Belvoir
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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