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Pesticides in Surface Waters

U.S Geological Survey Fact Sheet FS-039-97

Importance of Surface Waters

Streams and reservoirs supply approximately 50 percent of the nation's drinking water, primarily in urban areas. Streams, reservoirs, lakes, and downstream estuaries are also vital aquatic ecosystems that provide important environmental and economic benefits. Surface waters are particularly vulnerable to pesticide contamination because runoff from most agricultural and urban areas, where pesticides are applied, drains into streams. Pesticides may also enter streams through wastewater discharges, atmospheric deposition, spills, and ground water inflow. The uses and ecological significance of surface water, combined with its vulnerability to contamination, make it particularly important to understand the extent and significance of pesticides in this component of the hydrologic system. Next: Historical Study Efforts
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