Source, extent, and degradation of herbicides in a shallow aquifer near Hesston, Kansas

Water-Resources Investigations Report 90-4019




Atrazine, alachlor, cyanazine, metolachlor, and metribuzin were detected in water from a domestic well completed in a shallow aquifer underlying the Harvey County Experiment Field near Hesston, Kansas. The study described in this report investigated the source, extent, and degradation of these five herbicides. Hydrogeologic analysis of the site enabled estimation of the degradation half-lives of the herbicides in the saturated zone. The most probable source of the contamination was back- siphonage or spillage of herbicides from a sprayer tank into a trench backfilled with sand. The herbicides moved downgradient to the domestic well and then moved into the aquifer via the annular space in the well. Once in the aquifer, the contaminants remained nearly stationary with very little lateral movement away from the point of injection. Decreases in herbicide concentrations were caused mainly by degradation of the parent compounds and to a lesser degree, by extensive pumping of the well. Estimated herbicide degradation half-lives in the saturated environment were 1,000 days for atrazine, 400 days for alachlor, 250 days for cyanazine, 350 days for metolachlor, and 350 days for metribuzin. The herbicides will likely be eliminated from the soil and groundwater at the experiment field by continued natural degradation at the land surface and by degradation in and continued pumping of water from the aquifer. Pumping will remove any degradation products as well as the remaining parent compounds. (USGS)

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Source, extent, and degradation of herbicides in a shallow aquifer near Hesston, Kansas
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Water-Resources Investigations Report
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U.S. Geological Survey ; Books and Open-File Reports [distributor],
vi, 24 p. :ill. ;28 cm.