WATER RESOURCES RESEARCH GRANT PROPOSAL
Title: Reducing Atrazine Contamination of Interstate Surface Water
Duration: September 1, 1996 - December 31, 1998
Federal Funds Requested: $60,000
Nonfederal MatchFunds: 140,218
Thomas Franti, Ph.D., P.E.Department of Biological
Systems Engineering University of Nebraska-Lincoln Lincoln, NE
Phillip Barnes, Assist. Prof. Dept. of Agricultural Kansas State University
Congressional District of University: Nebraska, District 1
Statement of Critical Regional and State Water Problem
Throughout the U.S., herbicides are appearing in surface water at concentrations greater than established standards, or maximum contaminant levels (US EPA, 1992; Snow and Spalding, 1993; Goolsby and Battaglin, 1993). Concentrations of herbicides in surface water in the Midwest are highest after heavy spring and summer runoff events that carry large quantities of runoff into rivers and lakes (Stamer, 1993). The U.S. Geological Survey's National Water Quality Assessment (NAQWA) program has documented that atrazine concentrations in surface water in northeast Kansas and southeast Nebraska often exceed the maximum contaminant level (mcl) of 3.0 ug/l (micrograms per liter) established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1986 (Failon and McChesney, 1993).
The Blue River Basins comprise a 7,200 square mile agricultural watershed in Kansas and Nebraska, and includes the Big Blue River and Little Blue River in Nebraska and Tuttle Creek Reservoir in Kansas. Currently, elevated atrazine concentrations in surface water in the Blue River Basins are of concern to some Kansas municipalities, and are a common problem throughout the Midwest wherever surface water is used for drinking water. Atrazine was the herbicide most frequently detected in samples of surface water collected and analyzed by the U.S. Geological Survey from March 1989 to February 1990 in the lower Kansas River Basin, which includes the Blue River Basins. Atrazine concentrations in Tuttle Creek Reservoir have on occasion exceeded the maximum contaminant level for drinking water (3 ppb). Water from Tuttle Creek Reservoir is used for drinking water by Topeka and Kansas City, Kansas (combined population greater than 275,000). Atrazine is a special problem for public drinking water supplies because it is not removed by conventional water treatment.
Statement of Results, or Benefits
The benefits of this research will be to identify which proposed atrazine management practices will provide the greatest environmental protection of surface water drinking supplies, with the greatest economic benefit, or smallest economic risk to producers. Results will highlight those practices that will reduce atrazine runoff to surface water drinking supplies and the economic impact to crop producers of adoption of these practices. The benefits of this research will be seen when the best management practices evaluated are transferred and implemented in the Blue River Basins to protect surface water drinking supplies in Kansas. Additionally, this evaluation will provide results pertinent to other agricultural areas in the Midwest where surface water drinking supplies need to be protected.
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
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