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Intense rains produced flooding during the spring and summer of 1993 over much of the midwestern USA including many agricultural areas of Missouri. Because of potential contamination from floodwater, an investigation was conducted to determine the changes in concentrations of agricultural chemicals in water samples from alluvial wells in Missouri after the flood. Water samples from 80 alluvial wells with historical data were collected in March, July, and November 1994, and analyzed for dissolved herbicides, herbicide metabolites, and nitrate (NO3). There were no statistically significant differences in the distribution of alachlor ((2,chloro-2'-6'-diethyl-N-[methoxymethyl]acetanilide), atrazine (2-chloro- 4-ethylamino-6-isopropylamino-1, 3, 5 triazine), and nitrate concentrations between pre- and postflood samples (?? = 0.05). The detection frequency of alachlor and atrazine in postflood samples was generally lower than the frequency in preflood samples. Analyses of agricultural chemicals in water samples from an intensely sampled well field indicate significant differences between the distribution of dissolved P concentrations in pre- and postflood samples (?? = 0.05). However, no significant differences were detected between the pre- and postflood distributions of NO3 or ammonia concentrations. Because of the numerous sources of temporal variability and the relatively short record of water-quality data for the study wells, a cause-and-effect relation between changes in agricultural chemical concentrations and a single factor of the 1993 flood is difficult to determine. Based on the results of this study, the 1993 flood did not cause widespread or long-term significant changes in concentrations of agricultural chemicals in water from alluvial aquifers in Missouri.
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Agricultural chemicals in alluvial aquifers in Missouri after the 1993 flood