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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

Surface Water-Ground Water Interaction: Herbicide Transport into Municipal Collector Wells


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 28 No. 5, p. 1396-1405
    Received: July 24, 1998

    * Corresponding author(s): imverstr@usgs.gov
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  1. I. M. Verstraeten *,
  2. J. D. Carr,
  3. G. V. Steele,
  4. E. M. Thurman,
  5. K. C. Bastian and
  6. D. F. Dormedy
  1. U.S. Geological Survey, 100 Centennial Mall North, Lincoln, NE 68508;
    Chemistry Dep., Univ. of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68588-0304;
    U.S. Geological Survey, Lawrence, KS 66049.



During spring runoff events, herbicides in the Platte River are transported through an alluvial aquifer into collector wells located on an island in the river in 6 to 7 d. During two spring runoff events in 1995 and 1996, atrazine [2-chloro-4-ethylamino-6-isopropylamino-s-triazine] concentrations in water from these wells reached approximately 7 µg/L, 70 times more than the background concentration in ground water. Concentrations of herbicides and metabolites in the collector wells generally were one-half to one-fifth the concentrations of herbicides in the river for atrazine, alachlor [2-chloro-2′-6′-diethyl-N-(methoxymethyl)-acetanilide], alachlor ethane-sulfonic acid (ESA) [2-((2,6-diethylphenyl) (methoxymethyl)amino)-2-oxoethane-sulfonic acid], metolachlor [2-chloro-N-(2-ethyl-6-methylphenyl)-N-(2-methoxy-1-methylethyl)acetamide], cyanazine [2-((4-chloro-6-(ethylamino)-1,3,5 triazin-2-yl)-amino)-2-methylpropionitrile], and acetochlor [2-chloro-N-(ethoxymethyl)-N-(2-ethyl-6methyl-phenyl) acetamide], suggesting that 20 to 50% river water could be present in the water from the collector wells, assuming no degradation. The effect of the river on the quality of water from the collector wells can be reduced through selective management of horizontal laterals of the collector wells. The quality of the water from the collector wells is dependent on the (i) selection of the collector well used, (ii) number and selection of laterals used, (iii) chemical characteristics of the contaminant, and (iv) relative mixing of the Platte River and a major upstream tributary.

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