To answer this question, a study of pesticides in streams in a small agricultural area and a small urban area in Colorado was conducted in 1993 by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) as part of the National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) program. The results indicate that pesticides are present in streams, and both agricultural and urban areas are probable sources of the contamination. In the agricultural area, 30 pesticides were detected and in the urban area, 26 pesticides were detected at least once during the thirteen month study. In the agricultural area, the herbicides alachlor (two samples) and cyanazine (four samples) and the insecticide diazinon (one sample) were the only pesticides that exceeded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) or health advisory levels (HALs) for drinking water. No pesticides exceeded MCLs or HALs in the urban area.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Are streams in agricultural and urban areas contaminated by pesticides?
U.S. Geological Survey
Colorado Water Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey