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News Release

U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Geological Survey

Release: September 21, 2000
Jim Ebbert
253-428-3600, ext. 2682

Fewer Pesticides Found in Ground Water in the Puget Sound Basin than in Streams

Far fewer pesticides were found in ground water in the Puget Sound Basin than in streams, according to a new report released today by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Department of the Interior.

According to the study, over one half of the pesticides analyzed were found in streams, and all stream samples contained multiple pesticides. On the other hand, most ground- water samples, including shallow ground water, contained no pesticides. "Herbicides, used to control weeds, were the most frequent type of pesticide found in both streams and ground water," said Gil Bortleson, lead author of the report.

"Insecticides, in addition to herbicides, were frequently found in urban streams, and Diazinon, a commonly used lawn insecticide, was the most pervasive insecticide found in urban streams," said Bortleson. Some stream samples contained concentrations of Diazinon exceeding chronic criteria for the protection of aquatic life.

"On the good news side, in ground water," Bortleson said, "concentrations of the few pesticides we found did not exceed drinking water standards or guidelines."

The report, "Occurrence of Pesticides in Streams and Ground Water in the Puget Sound Basin, Washington, 1996-98," is published as a USGS Water-Resources Investigations Report 00-4118. For a free copy of the report, contact the USGS Washington Water Science Center at 1201 Pacific Avenue, Suite 600, Tacoma, Washington 98402, (253) 428-3600, ext. 2653, or email John Clemens, Information Officer, at Copies can also be purchased from the U.S. Geological Survey, Information Services, Box 25286, Federal Center, Denver, CO 80225-0286, telephone (303) 202-4200.

As the Nation's largest water, earth and biological science, and civilian mapping agency, the USGS works in cooperation with more than 2,000 organizations across the country to provide reliable, impartial scientific information to resource managers, planners, and other customers. This information is gathered in every state by USGS scientists to minimize the loss of life and property from natural disasters, contribute to the sound conservation and the economic and physical development of the nation's natural resources, and enhance the quality of life by monitoring water, biological, energy, and mineral resources.

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