Purdue University | Indiana CCA

Proceedings 2006

Indiana Certified Crop Adviser Conference


Pesticides in the Nation's Streams and Ground Water, 1992–2001

The use of pesticides to control weeds, insects, and other pests has resulted in a range of benefits, including increased food production and reduction of insect-borne disease, but also raises questions about possible adverse effects on the environment, including water quality. Water samples collected from 1992 through 2001 from 186 streams and rivers and from 5,047 wells in 51 of the Nation's major river basins and aquifer systems were summarized to provide the most comprehensive national-scale analysis of pesticide occurrence to date. Concentrations of pesticides in streams and ground water were typically below water-quality benchmarks for human health. Only 11 of 186 streams had pesticide concentrations greater than a human-health benchmark. Only about 1 percent of the 2,720 domestic-supply and public-supply wells sampled had pesticide concentrations greater than a human-health benchmark. Concentrations of pesticides in streams were typically above aquatic-life benchmarks. One or more pesticides exceeded benchmarks for aquatic life in 83 percent of urban, 57 percent of agricultural, and 42 percent of mixed-land-use streams. Information for this presentation was taken from U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1291 "The Quality of Our Nation's Waters—Pesticides in the Nation's Streams and Ground Water, 1992–2001." The report and supporting information are available at http://ca.water.usgs.gov/pnsp/pubs/circ1291/


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Jeff Martin
U.S. Geological Survey
Indianapolis, IN

Jeff Martin has been a hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey since 1981. He has served as Water-Quality Specialist for the USGS Indiana Water Science Center and has worked on a variety of water-quality projects in Indiana including the White River Basin National Water-Quality Assessment Study from 1991-1996. He is currently working with the NAWQA Pesticide National Synthesis Team with responsibility for the analysis and interpretation of pesticides in streams.