During 1993 through 2003, the U.S. Geological Survey conducted a number of studies to investigate and document the occurrence, fate, and transport of acetamide herbicides and their degradation products in ground and surface water. As part of these studies, approximately 5,100 water samples were collected and analyzed for the acetamide parent herbicides acetochlor, alachlor, dimethenamid, flufenacet, and metolachlor and their degradation products ethanesulfonic acid, oxanilic acid, and sulfinyl acetic acid. During this period, various analytical methods were developed to detect and measure concentrations of acetamide herbicides and their degradation products in ground water and surface water. Results showed that the degradation products of acetamide herbicides in ground water were detected more frequently and occurred at higher concentrations than their parent compounds. Further study showed that the acetamide herbicides and their degradation products were detected more frequently in surface water than in ground water. In general, the parent compounds were detected at similar or greater frequencies than the degradation products in surface water. The developed methods and data were valuable for acquiring information about the occurrence, fate, and transport of the herbicides and their degradation products and the importance of analyzing for both parent compounds and their degradate products in water-quality studies.
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USGS Numbered Series
Acetamide herbicides and their degradation products in ground water and surface water of the United States, 1993-2003