The study objective was to conduct a small scale synoptic survey of representative water resources draining agricultural land for occurrence of several herbicide residues. These new classes of herbicides are commonly applied pre-emergence or post-emergence in conservation tillage systems to control grasses and broadleaf weeds in cropped and noncropped areas. Both surface water and groundwater samples were collected from 44 midwestern locations during the summer of 1997, and analyzed for herbicide residues of 15 sulfonylurea and imidazolinone chemicals, and one sulfonamide. Each site was sampled between mid-June and late-October with several stream sites sampled twice. The method, developed jointly by the chemical manufacturer's and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, provides a 100 ng/L limit of quantitation in surface water for all analytes. Analytes were detected and identity confirmed in surface water at six sites and in ground water at two sites. The most frequently detected herbicides were imazaquin, imazethapyr, and nicosulfuron. For field studies in which the source of surface and ground water associated with the farming system on the agricultural landscape is known, the sensitivity of the method can be improved with only minor modifications in detection criteria.
Additional publication details
Reconnaissance survey of sulfonamide, sulfonylurea, and imidazolinone herbicides in surface streams and groundwater of the Midwestern United States