Ground-water samples from four monitoring well networks in the Hudson River basin were analyzed for pesticides (detection limits from 0.001 to 0.018 ??g/L). The most frequent detections were in samples from shallow depths beneath agricultural areas. Concentrations of pesticides in samples from all four networks were generally below 0.10 ??g/L, and the concentration of only one (cyanazine) exceeded any maximum contaminant levels or health advisory levels set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The well networks represented two land-use and two well-depth categories as follows: 1. agricultural shallow wells - two springs and 14 wells finished less than 15 m below land surface in unconfined unconsolidated aquifers beneath agricultural land, 2. agricultural water-supply-wells - 31 wells finished 1.8 to 120 m below land surface in unconsolidated unconfined aquifers and bedrock aquifers beneath agricultural land 3. urban/residential shallow-wells - 17 wells finished less than 16 m below land surface in unconfined unconsolidated aquifers beneath urban or residential land; and 4. urban/residential water-supply-wells - 25 water-supply or observation wells finished 5 to 113 m below land surface in unconfined, unconsolidated aquifers and bedrock aquifers beneath urban or residential land. Pesticides were detected in 69 percent of the samples from the agricultural shallow wells, in 29 percent of the samples from the agricultural water-supply wells, in no samples from the urban/residential shallow wells, and in 16 percent of the samples from the urban/residential water-supply wells. At least half of the samples from the agricultural shallow-well network contained two herbicides (atrazine and metolachlor) and one herbicide metabolite (deethylatrazine); other pesticides detected in samples from this network included metribuzin, cyanazine, EPTC, and pendimethalin. Samples from the agricultural water-supply wells contained two insecticides (diazinon and malathion), two herbicides (atrazine and prometon), and one herbicide metabolite (deethylatrazine). Samples from the urban/residential water-supply well network contained two insecticides (diazinon and malathion), and three herbicides (atrazine, metolachlor, and prometon). Pesticides were detected in samples from depths of less than 2 to more than 70 m. Pesticides were detected in samples with nitrate concentrations ranging from less than the detection limit of 0.05 mg/L to 16 mg/L. These results indicate that pesticides are detected most frequently in shallow ground water beneath agricultural areas, and that pesticides can be detected in wells with a wide range of depths and nitrate concentrations.
Additional publication details
Pesticides in wells in agricultural and urban areas of the Hudson River basin