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Herbicide concentrations in and loads transported by the Conestoga River and Pequea Creek, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, 1992-95

Water-Resources Investigations Report 97-4124

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Abstract

Water samples were collected from four streams in Lancaster County from 1992 through 1995 and analyzed for selected herbicides. Samples were collected from the Little Conestoga Creek near Churchtown, Mill Creek (a tributary to the Conestoga River) at Elshelman Mill Road near Lyndon, the Conestoga River at Conestoga, and Pequea Creek at Martic Forge. Most samples were collected from stormflow that occurred during the growing season. Samples were analyzed for alachlor, aldrin, atrazine, chlordane, cyanazine, dieldrin, malathion, metolachlor, propazine, simazine, and toxaphene. Most samples had detectable concentrations of alachlor, atrazine, metolachlor, and simazine, and the loads of these constituents that were transported during each of the 4 years were computed. Of the samples collected from each of the streams?Little Conestoga Creek, Mill Creek, Conestoga River, and Pequea Creek?10, 12, 15, and 18 percent, respectively, had atrazine concentrations greater than 3.0 micrograms per liter, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency maximum contaminant level. Loads of atrazine, metolochlor, and simazine were greater than loads of any other herbicides. The largest loads were transported during 1994. Loads of atrazine transported by the four streams during periods of storm- flow from May to September 1994 totaled 3.46, 28.3, 263, and 46.8 pounds, respectively. The total loads of atrazine transported by the four streams?Little Conestoga Creek, Mill Creek, Conestoga River, and Pequea Creek?during calendar year 1994 were 6.48, 54.1, 498, and 102 pounds, respectively. A little less than half the atrazine load transported by each stream?45, 39, 42, and 42 percent, respectively?was transported during storms that occurred from May through September. Average annual yields of atrazine for the period 1992-95 were 0.59, 0.64, 0.68, and 0.51 pounds per square mile from the Little Conestoga Creek, Mill Creek, Conestoga River, and Pequea Creek, respectively. Average annual yields of simazine were 0.36, 1.2, 0.54, and 0.48 pounds per square mile, respectively, and average annual yields of metolachlor were 0.46, 0.49, 0.54, and 0.31 pounds per square mile, respectively. Less than 1 percent of both the atrazine and metolachlor that was applied to all basins was transported by streamflow.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Herbicide concentrations in and loads transported by the Conestoga River and Pequea Creek, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, 1992-95
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
97-4124
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1997
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey ; Branch of Information Services [distributor],
Description:
v, 24 p. :ill., map ;28 cm.