This report presents data collected as part of a reconnaissance study to evaluate the occurrence of perchlorate in rivers and streams and in shallow aquifers in selected areas of the United States. Perchlorate, a component in rocket fuels, fireworks, and some explosives is soluble in water and persists in soils and water for long periods. It is biologically active at relatively low-levels in the environment, and has been identified as an endocrine-disrupting chemical. The purpose of this reconnaissance was to determine the occurrence of perchlorate in agricultural areas of the Midwestern and North-Central United States and in arid Central and Western parts of the United States.
Samples were collected from 171 sites on rivers and streams and 146 sites from wells during the summer and early fall of 2004. Samples were collected from surface-water sites in 19 states and from wells in 5 states. Perchlorate was detected in samples collected in 15 states and was detected in 34 of 182 samples from rivers and streams and in 64 of 148 groundwater samples at concentrations equal to or greater than 0.4 micrograms per liter. Perchlorate concentrations were 1.0 micrograms per liter or greater in surface-water samples from seven states and in groundwater samples in four states. Only one surface-water and one groundwater sample had concentrations greater than 5.0 micrograms per liter. Perchlorate concentrations in followup samples collected from 1 to 3 months after the initial sample were unchanged at four of five stream sites.