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Keywords:

  • agricultural hydrology;
  • aquatic toxicology;
  • nonpoint source pollution;
  • drainage;
  • water quality;
  • stormwater management

ABSTRACT: Pesticides in stormwater runoff, within the Sacramento River Basin, California, were assessed during a storm that occurred in January 1994. Two organophosphate insecticides (diazinon and methidathion), two carbamate pesticides (molinate and carbofuran), and one triazine herbicide (simazine) were detected. Organophosphate pesticide concentrations increased with the rising stage of the hydrographs; peak concentrations were measured near peak discharge. Diazinon oxon, a toxic degradation product of diazinon, made up approximately 1 to 3 percent of the diazinon load. The Feather River was the principal source of organophosphate pesticides to the Sacramento River during this storm. The concentrations of molinate and carbofuran, pesticides applied to rice fields during May and June, were relatively constant during and after the storm. Their presence in surface water was attributed to the flooding and subsequent drainage, as a management practice to degrade rice stubble prior to the next planting. A photo-degradation product of molinate, 4-keto molinate, was in all samples where molinate was detected and made up approximately 50 percent of the total molinate load. Simazine, a herbicide used in orchards and to control weeds along the roadways, was detected in the storm runoff, but it was not possible to differentiate the two sources of that pesticide to the Sacramento River.