The reconnaissance investigation results indicated that irrigation drainage generally has not adversely affected biota in the Columbia Basin Project. Hazards to biota from large concentrations of certain trace elements in water and bottom sediment, and caused by high evaporation rates in irrigated arid lands, are reduced by imported, dilute Columbia River water. However, boron concentrations in aquatic plants might affect waterfowl feeding on these plants and arsenic concentrations in juvenile coots were similar to those in mallard ducklings who exhibited abnormalities after being fed an arsenic-supplemented diet. During irrigation season, concentrations of boron, nitrate, and dissolved solids in water were increased in the southern wasteways because of water reuse. During non-irrigation season, constituent concentrations were large when stream flows are sustained by return water from tile drains and ground water. However, concentrations of dissolved constituents typically did not exceed standards or criteria for humans, freshwater life, or beneficial uses of the water. In water, the herbicide 2,4-D was detected more than any other pesticide and in concentrations from 0.01 to 1.0 microgram per liter. In bottom sediment, organochlorine insecticides were detected in samples from 19 of 21 sites. In fish collected from some wasteways, chlordane, DDT, and dieldrin concentrations occasionally exceeded freshwater protection criteria.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Reconnaissance investigation of water quality, bottom sediment, and biota associated with irrigation drainage in the Columbia Basin Project, Washington, 1991-92
Water-Resources Investigations Report
U.S. Dept. of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey ;
Earth Science Information Center, Open-File Reports Section [distributor],