In 1988, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, along with the University of Iowa conducted the Statewide Rural Well Water Survey, commonly known as SWRL. A total of 686 private rural drinking water wells was selected by use of a probability sample and tested for pesticides and nitrates. Sixty-eight of these wells, the '10% repeat' wells, were additionally sampled in October, 1990 and June, 1991. Starting in November, 1991, the University of Iowa, with sponsorship from the United States Environmental Protection Agency, revisited these wells to begin a study of the temporal variability of atrazine and nitrates in wells. Other wells, which had originally tested positive for atrazine in SWRL but were not in the 10% repeat population, were added to the study population. Temporal sampling for a year-long period began in February of 1992 and concluded in January of 1993. All wells were sampled monthly, one subset was sampled weekly, and a second subset was sampled for 14-day consecutive periods. Two unique aspects of this study were the use of an immunoassay technique to screen for triazines before gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) analysis and quantification of atrazine, and the use of well owners to sample the wells. A total of 1771 samples from 83 wells are in the final data base for this study. This paper reviews the study design, the analytical methodologies, and development of the data base. A companion paper discusses the analysis of the data from this survey.
Additional publication details
A study of the temporal variability of atrazine in private well water. Part I: Study design, implementation, and database development