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Data Series 797

Occurrence of Fungicides and Other Pesticides in Surface Water, Groundwater, and Sediment from Three Targeted-Use Areas in the United States, 2009

By James L. Orlando, Kelly L. Smalling, Timothy J. Reilly, Neil S. Fishman, Adam Boehlke, Michael T. Meyer, and Kathryn M. Kuivila

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (5 MB)Abstract

Surface-water, groundwater, and suspended- and bedsediment samples were collected in three targeted-use areas in the United States where potatoes were grown during 2009 and analyzed for an extensive suite of fungicides and other pesticides by gas chromatograph/mass spectrometry and liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry. Fungicides were detected in all environmental matrices sampled during the study. The most frequently detected fungicides were azoxystrobin, boscalid, chlorothalonil, and pyraclostrobin. Other pesticides that were detected frequently included amino phosphonic acid (AMPA), atrazine, metolaclor, and the organochlorine insecticide p,p’-DDT and its degradates p,p’-DDD and p,p’-DDE.

A greater number of pesticides were detected in surface water relative to the other environmental matrices sampled, and at least one pesticide was detected in 62 of the 63 surfacewater samples. The greatest numbers of pesticides and the maximum observed concentrations for most pesticides were measured in surface-water samples from Idaho. In eight surface- water samples (six from Idaho and two from Wisconsin), concentrations of bifenthrin, metolachlor, or malathion exceeded U.S. Environmental Protection Agency freshwater aquatic-life benchmarks for chronic toxicity to invertebrates.

Thirteen pesticides, including seven fungicides, were detected in groundwater samples. Shallow groundwater samples collected beneath recently harvested potato fields contained more pesticides and had higher concentrations of pesticides than samples collected from other groundwater sources sampled during the study. Generally, pesticide concentrations were lower in groundwater samples than in surfacewater or sediment samples, with the exception of the fungicide boscalid, which was found to have its highest concentration in a shallow groundwater sample collected in Wisconsin.

Thirteen pesticides, including four fungicides, were detected in suspended-sediment samples. The most frequently detected compounds were the fungicides boscalid, pyraclostrobin, and zoxamide, and the degradates p,p’-DDD and p,p’-DDE. Twenty pesticides, including six fungicides, were detected in bed-sediment samples. The most frequently detected compounds were pyraclostrobin, p,p’-DDT, p,p’-DDD, and p,p’-DDE.

First posted November 26, 2013

For additional information, contact:
Director, California Water Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
600 J Street, Placer Hall
Sacramento, CA 95819

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Suggested citation:

Orlando, J.L., Smalling, K.L., Reilly, T.J., Fishman, N.S., Boehlke, Adam, Meyer, M.T., and Kuivila, K.M., 2013, Occurrence of fungicides and other pesticides in surface water, groundwater, and sediment from three targeted-use areas in the United States, 2009: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 797, 73 p.,

ISSN 2327-698X (online)




Purpose and Scope

Study Design

Procedures and Methods

Quality-Assurance/Quality-Control Methods and Results


Summary and Conclusions

References Cited

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