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Concentrations and transport of atrazine in the Delaware River-Perry Lake system, northeast Kansas, July 1993 through September 1995

Open-File Report 96-331

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Abstract

A study of the distribution and transport of atrazine in surface water in the 1,117 square-mile Delaware River Basin in northeast Kansas was conducted from July 1992 through September 1995. The purpose of this report is to present information to assess the present (1992-95) conditions and possible future changes in the distribution and magnitude of atrazine concentrations, loads, and yields spatially, temporally, and in relation to hydrologic conditions and land-use characteristics. A network of 11 stream-monitoring and sample-collection sites was established within the basin. Stream- water samples were collected during a wide range of hydrologic conditions throughout the study. Nearly 5,000 samples were analyzed by enzyme- linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for triazine herbicide concentrations. Daily mean triazine herbicide concentrations were calculated for all sampling sites and subsequently used to estimate daily mean atrazine concentrations with a linear- regression relation between ELISA-derived triazine concentrations and atrazine concentrations determined by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry for 141 dual-analyzed surface-water samples. During May, June, and July, time-weighted, daily mean atrazine concentrations in streams in the Delaware River Basin commonly exceeded the value of 3.0-ug/L (micrograms per liter) annual mean Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for drinking-water supplies. Time-weighted, daily mean concentrations equal to or greater than 20 ug/L were not uncommon. However, most time- weighted, daily mean concentrations were less than 1.0 ug/L from August through April. The largest time-weighted, monthly mean atrazine concentrations occurred during May, June, and July. Most monthly mean concentrations between August and April were less than 0.50 ug/L. Large differences were documented in monthly mean concentrations within the basin. Sites receiving runoff from the northern and northeastern parts of the Delaware River Basin had the largest monthly and annual mean atrazine concentrations. Time- weighted, annual mean atrazine concentrations did not exceed the MCL in water from any sampling site for either the 1993 or 1994 crop years (April-March); however, concentrations were during 1994 than during 1993. Time-weighted, annual mean concentrations in water from among the 11 sampling sites during the 1993 crop year ranged from 0.27 to 1.5 ug/L and from 0.36 to 2.8 ug/L during the 1994 crop year. Furthermore, concentrations in samples from the outflow of Perry Lake were larger during the first 6 months of the 1995 crop year than during the previous year. Flow-weighted, annual mean atrazine concentrations were larger than time-weighted, annual mean concentrations in water from all sampling sites upstream of Perry Lake, and samples from several sites had concentrations were substantially larger than the MCL. This difference explained why time-weighted, annual mean concentrations in the outflow of Perry Lake were larger than corresponding time-weighted concentrations in water from sampling sites upstream of Perry Lake. Flow- weighted, annual mean concentrations in water from among the 11 sampling sites during the 1993 crop year ranged from 1.0 to 4.4 ug/L and from 1.0 to 8.9 ug/L during the 1994 crop year. Statistically significant linear-regression equations were identified relating the percentage of subbasin in cropland to time- and flow-weighted, average annual mean atrazine concentrations. The relations indicate that time-weighted, average annual mean atrazine concentrations may not exceed the MCL in water from subbasins with at least about 70-percent cropland. However, flow-weighted, average annual mean atrazine concentrations may exceed the MCL when the percentage of cropland is greater than about 40 percent. Approximately 90 percent of the annual atrazine load is transport from May through July. Atrazine loads and yields were larger during the 1993 cro

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Concentrations and transport of atrazine in the Delaware River-Perry Lake system, northeast Kansas, July 1993 through September 1995
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
96-331
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1996
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey ; Branch of Information Services [distributor],
Description:
vi, 142 p. :ill., maps (some col.) ;28 cm.