Twelve sites in the San Joaquin Valley of California were monitored weekly during the growing and irrigation season of 2001 for a total of 51 pesticides and pesticide degradation products, with primary interest on the concentration, load, and basin yield of organophosphorus insecticides, especially diazinon and chlorpyrifos. Diazinon was detected frequently, up to 100 percent of the time, at many of the sampling sites, but with generally low concentrations. For all sites, 75 percent of all measured diazinon concentrations were less than 0.02 mg/L, and 90 percent of all measured diazinon concentrations were less than 0.06 mg/L. The highest diazinon concentrations were measured in samples from two west-side tributaries to the San Joaquin River, Orestimba Creek, and Del Puerto Creek. The median concentration of chlorpyrifos was at or less than the laboratory reporting limit (0.005 mg/L) for most sites with the exceptions of two tributaries to the San Joaquin River: Orestimba Creek and the Tuolumne River. For all sites, 75 percent of all measured chlorpyrifos concentrations were less than 0.03 mg/L and 90 percent of all measured chlorpyrifos concentrations were less than 0.07 mg/L. The total load of diazinon out of the basin was just over 7 kilograms, which accounted for about 0.17 percent of the total agricultural applications. The diazinon load from the monitored upstream tributaries accounted for about 50 percent of the load at the mouth of the San Joaquin River. The streamflow from the selected monitored tributaries accounted for about 83 percent of the streamflow at the mouth of the San Joaquin River. The total load of chlorpyrifos out of the basin was 3.75 kilograms, and this accounted for approximately 0.007 percent of the total amount applied. Other pesticides that were frequently detected during this study included herbicides such as metolachlor, simazine, and trifluralin, and insecticides such as carbaryl, carbofuran, and propargite. At Orestimba Creek, DDE, a degradation product of DDT, was detected at a frequency of 95 percent.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Evaluation of Diazinon and Chlorpyrifos Concentrations and Loads, and other Pesticide Concentrations, at Selected Sites in the San Joaquin Valley, California, April to August, 2001