A monitoring study was conducted in the tributaries and main stem of the Sacramento River, California, USA, during the storm event of January 26 to February 1, 2005. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the sources and loading of pesticides in the Sacramento River watershed during the winter storm season. A total of 26 pesticides or pesticide degradates were analyzed, among which five pesticides and one triazine degradate were detected. Diuron, diazinon, and simazine were found in all streams with a total load of 110.4, 15.4, and 15.7 kg, respectively, in the Sacramento River over the single storm event. Bromacil, hexazinone, and the triazine degradate diaminochlorotriazine were only detected in two smaller drainage canals with a load ranged from 0.25 to 7 kg. The major source of pesticides detected in the main stem Sacramento River was from the most upstream subbasin, the Sacramento River above Colusa, where detected pesticides either exceeded or were close to those at the main outlet of the Sacramento River at Alamar Marina. The higher precipitation in this subbasin was partly responsible for the greater contribution of pesticides observed. Diazinon was the only pesticide with concentrations above water quality criteria, indicating that additional mitigation measures may be needed to reduce its movement to surface water.
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