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Kansas Water Science Center

U.S. Geological Survey
Open-File Report 03–217

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Reconnaissance Data for Glyphosate, Other Selected Herbicides, Their Degradation Products, and Antibiotics in 51 Streams in Nine Midwestern States, 2002

By Elisabeth A. Scribner, William A. Battaglin, Julie E. Dietze, and E.M. Thurman

Abstract

Since 1989, the U.S. Geological Survey has conducted periodic reconnaissance studies of streams in the Midwestern United States to determine the geographic and seasonal distribution of herbicide compounds. These studies have documented that large amounts of acetochlor, alachlor, atrazine, cyanazine, metolachlor, and their degradation products are flushed into streams during post-application runoff. Additional studies show that peak herbicide concentrations tend to occur during the first runoff after herbicide application and that herbicide flushes can occur during runoff for several weeks to months following application.
Since the first stream study conducted in 1989, several significant changes in herbicide use have occurred. The most substantial change is the tripling in the use of glyphosate during the past 5 years. Over this same time period (1997–2001), usage of acetochlor and atrazine increased slightly, whereas alachlor, cyanazine, and metolachlor usage decreased.

During 2002, 154 samples were collected from 51 streams in nine Midwestern States during three periods of runoff. This report provides a compilation of the analytical results of five laboratory methods. Results show that glyphosate was detected in 55 (36 percent) of the samples, and aminomethylphosphonic acid (a degradation product of glyphosate) was detected in 107 (69 percent) of the samples. Atrazine, the most frequently detected herbicide, was found in 93 percent of the samples, followed by metolachlor, found in 73 percent of the samples; metolachlor ethanesulfonic acid (ESA) and oxanilic acid (OXA) were the most frequently detected herbicide degradation products, both being found in more than 95 percent of the samples. The data presented here are valuable for comparison with results from the earlier reconnaissance studies.

CONTENTS

    Abstract
    Introduction
      Previous Studies
      Changes in Herbicide Use Since 1989
      Herbicie Degradation Products
      Antibiotics
      Purpose and Scope of Report
    Methods
      Selection of Sampling Sites
      Sample Collection
      Sample Processing
      Laboratory Methods
        Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry
        Liquid Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry
    Analytical Results
      Streamflow and Physical Properties
      Results of Laboratory Method Analysis Code GCS
      Results of Laboratory Method Analysis Code LCAA
      Results of Laboratory Method Analysis Code LCEA
      Results of Laboratory Method Analysis Code LCGY
      Results of Laboratory Method Analysis Code LCAN
      Quality-Control Samples
      Duplicate Analysis of Selected Herbicides
    References Cited
    Supplemental Information

Scribner, E.A., Battaglin, W.A., Dietze, J.E., and Thurman, E.M., Reconnaissance Data for Glyphosate, Other Selected Herbicides, their Degradation Products, and Antibiotics in 51 streams in Nine Midwestern States, 2002: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 03–217, 101 p.

For additional information contact:

Elizabeth Scribner
U.S. Geological Survey
4821 Quail Crest Place
Lawrence, KS 66049-3839
Telephone: (785) 832-3564
Fax: (785) 832-3500
Email:
scribner@usgs.gov