Pesticides in groundwater of the United States: decadal-scale changes, 1993-2011

Groundwater
By: , and 

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Abstract

The national occurrence of 83 pesticide compounds in groundwater of the United States and decadal-scale changes in concentrations for 35 compounds were assessed for the 20-year period from 1993–2011. Samples were collected from 1271 wells in 58 nationally distributed well networks. Networks consisted of shallow (mostly monitoring) wells in agricultural and urban land-use areas and deeper (mostly domestic and public supply) wells in major aquifers in mixed land-use areas. Wells were sampled once during 1993–2001 and once during 2002–2011. Pesticides were frequently detected (53% of all samples), but concentrations seldom exceeded human-health benchmarks (1.8% of all samples). The five most frequently detected pesticide compounds—atrazine, deethylatrazine, simazine, metolachlor, and prometon—each had statistically significant (p < 0.1) changes in concentrations between decades in one or more categories of well networks nationally aggregated by land use. For agricultural networks, concentrations of atrazine, metolachlor, and prometon decreased from the first decade to the second decade. For urban networks, deethylatrazine concentrations increased and prometon concentrations decreased. For major aquifers, concentrations of deethylatrazine and simazine increased. The directions of concentration changes for individual well networks generally were consistent with changes determined from nationally aggregated data. Altogether, 36 of the 58 individual well networks had statistically significant changes in concentrations of one or more pesticides between decades, with the majority of changes attributed to the five most frequently detected pesticide compounds. The magnitudes of median decadal-scale concentration changes were small—ranging from −0.09 to 0.03 µg/L—and were 35- to 230,000-fold less than human-health benchmarks.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Pesticides in groundwater of the United States: decadal-scale changes, 1993-2011
Series title Groundwater
DOI 10.1111/gwat.12176
Volume 52
Issue S1
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) California Water Science Center
Description 14 p.
First page 112
Last page 125
County United States