Pesticides in Nebraska's Ground Water

R. F. Spalding, M. E. Burbach, M. E. Exner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


More than 2263 well water samples were collected throughout Nebraska and analyzed for pesticides. Thirteen and one‐half percent contained detectable levels of atrazine, but only 22 wells exceeded the health advisory of 3.0 ppb. Although the samples came from almost every county in the state, this sampling is not based solely on a randomly selected group of wells. The highest frequency of detections occurred in irrigated corn‐growing areas with less than 50 feet to ground water. These areas were sampled at a greater frequency than the less vulnerable areas. Cyanazine, together with the additional triazines — simazine, propazine, prometone, and ametryne, also were detected in some well waters; however, their frequency of detection was well below that of atrazine. The triazine metribuzin was not detected. Alachlor, propachlor, and metolachlor also were detected in trace levels in several wells. Five of 2072 samples analyzed for alachlor exceeded the health advisory of 0.4 ppb. Almost all of the contaminated wells were in vulnerable areas. The relatively high frequency of propachlor detections occurred in predominately irrigated corn‐growing areas, rather than in areas where propachlor is traditionally applied. The factors that appear most directly involved in the observed distribution of pesticides in ground water are the intensity of areal usage, pesticide persistence and mobility, irrigation, soil drainage capacity, and depth to ground water. Fifteen pesticide residues were detected during this study. If ethylene dibromide and carbon tetrachloride, which were detected in ground water adjacent to grain elevators are included, a total of 17 pesticide residues have been detected in Nebraska's ground water.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-133
Number of pages8
JournalGround Water Monitoring and Remediation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology


Dive into the research topics of 'Pesticides in Nebraska's Ground Water'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this