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Occurrence of nitrate and herbicides in ground water in the upper Conestoga River basin, Pennsylvania : water-quality study of the Conestoga River headwaters, Pennsylvania

Water-Resources Investigations Report 85-4202

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Abstract

Nitrate-nitrogen and herbicide ground-water data is being collected by the u.s. Geological Survey as part of the nationwide Rural Clean Water Program designed to determine the effects of agricultural-management practices on water quality. Data collected from September 1982 to October 1983 · in the 188-square mile intensively farmed upper Conestoga River basin indicates high nitrate and detectable herbicide concentrations in ground water are closely associated with agricultural practices and carbonate geology. Maximum nitrate-nitrogen concentrations from 42 wells and one spring ranged from 37 to 40 milligrams per liter in the agricultural areas, and 12 to 19 milligrams per liter in the nonagricultural areas. Median concentrations of nitrate generally were three times higher in wells that penetrated carbonate rock than in wells that penetrated noncarbonate rocks. More than 40 percent of the wells in the carbonate and agricultural areas had dissolved-nitrate concentrations that exceeded 10 milligrams per liter as nitrogen, the criterion established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as excessive for drinking water. Atrazine, simazine, alachlor, and metolachlor were found almost exclusively in the agricultural and carbonate areas.

Water-quality data collected before and after installation of terraces, manure storage, and nutrient and herbicide management practices is valuable in determining the effectiveness of these agricultural practices, and will provide useful information to protect agricultural land, local water supplies, the Conestoga and Susquehanna Rivers and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Occurrence of nitrate and herbicides in ground water in the upper Conestoga River basin, Pennsylvania : water-quality study of the Conestoga River headwaters, Pennsylvania
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
85-4202
Year Published:
1986
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Description:
iii, 8 p.
Country:
United States
State:
Pennsylvania
Other Geospatial:
Conestoga River Basin
Online Only (Y/N):
N
Additional Online Files (Y/N):
N