The U.S. Geological Survey and the King County Department of Natural Resources collected water samples from 14 sites on urban streams in King County during storms and during base flow between 1998 and 2003. The samples were analyzed for the presence of 155 pesticides and pesticide transformation products.
Thirty-nine of the compounds were detected at least once during the study: 20 herbicides, 9 insecticides, 2 fungicides, 6 pesticide transformation products, and 2 other types of compounds. The most widespread compound was 4-nitrophenol, which was detected at all 14 sampling sites. The most frequently detected compound was pentachlorophenol, a fungicide, which occurred in more than 80 percent of the samples. The most frequently detected herbicides were prometon, trichlopyr, 2,4-D, and MCPP, and the most frequently detected insecticides were diazinon and carbaryl. All of the most frequently detected herbicides and insecticides were sold for homeowner use over the timeframe of this study.
More compounds were detected during storms than during base flow, and were detected more frequently and typically at high concentrations during storms. Seven compounds were detected only during storms. Most of the compounds that were detected during storms occurred more frequently during spring storms than during autumn storms.