Pesticide contamination of groundwater in Virginia: BMP impact assessment

S. Mostaghimi, P. W. McClellan, R. A. Cooke

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


The Nomini Creek Watershed/Water Quality monitoring project was initiated in 1985, as part of the Chesapeake Bay Agreement of 1983, to quantify the impacts of agricultural best management practices (BMPs) on improving water quality. The watershed monitoring system was designed to provide a comprehensive assessment of the quality of surface and groundwater as influenced by changes in land use, agronomic, and cultural practices in the watershed over the duration of the project. The primary chemical characteristics monitored include both soluble and sediment-bound nutrients and pesticides in surface and groundwater. Water samples from 8 monitoring wells located in agricultural areas in the watershed were analyzed for 22 pesticides. A total of 20 pesticides have been detected in water samples collected. Atrazine is the most frequently detected pesticide. Detected concentrations of atrazine ranged from 0.03-25.56 ppb and occurred in about 26 percent of the samples. Other pesticides were detected at frequencies ranging from 1.6 to 14.2 percent of all samples collected and concentrations between 0.01 and 41.89 ppb. The observed concentrations and spatial distributions of pesticide contamination of groundwater are compared to land use and cropping patterns. Results indicate that BMPs are quite effective in reducing pesticide concentrations in groundwater.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)379-387
Number of pages9
JournalWater Science and Technology
Issue number3-5
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes
EventProceedings of the IAWQ 1st International Conference on Diffuse (Nonpoint) Pollution: Sources, Prevention, Impact, Abatement - Chicago, IL, USA
Duration: Sep 19 1993Sep 24 1993


  • Agriculture
  • Best management practices
  • Groundwater pollution
  • Pesticides
  • Water quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology


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