Occurrence of cotton herbicides and insecticides in playa lakes of the High Plains of West Texas

Science of Total Environment
By: , and 



During the summer of 1997, water samples were collected and analyzed for pesticides from 32 playa lakes of the High Plains that receive drainage from both cotton and corn agriculture in West Texas. The major cotton herbicides detected in the water samples were diuron, fluometuron, metolachlor, norflurazon, and prometryn. Atrazine and propazine, corn and sorghum herbicides, were also routinely detected in samples from the playa lakes. Furthermore, the metabolites of all the herbicides studied were found in the playa lake samples. In some cases, the concentration of metabolites was equal to or exceeded the concentration of the parent compound. The types of metabolites detected suggested that the parent compounds had been transported to and had undergone degradation in the playa lakes. The types of metabolites and the ratio of metabolites to parent compounds may be useful in indicating the time that the herbicides were transported to the playa lakes. The median concentration of total herbicides was 7.2 μg/l, with the largest total concentrations exceeding 30 μg/l. Organophosphate insecticides were detected in only one water sample. Further work will improve the understanding of the fate of these compounds in the playa lake area.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Occurrence of cotton herbicides and insecticides in playa lakes of the High Plains of West Texas
Series title Science of Total Environment
DOI 10.1016/S0048-9697(99)00542-2
Volume 248
Issue 2-3
Year Published 2000
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Toxic Substances Hydrology Program
Description 12 p.
First page 189
Last page 200
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