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Remedial Alternatives for Removing DBCP and Other Pesticides From Groundwater
Author: Joseph M. Wong
Date: 3/389
Presented at Seminar on Recent Groundwater Trends in the Central Valley, Sacramento, California, March 30-31, 1989

Contamination of water supplies by pesticides (or herbicides) is a significant public health problem because of the widespread application of pesticides in large-scale agriculture and in forest areas. Contamination can occur through drainage from the surrounding terrain, precipitation form the atmosphere, accidental spills, and leaching into groundwater through fumigated soil. A recent report prepared by the California Department of Food and Agriculture summarized the result of pesticide residue tests submitted to this agency between September 1987 and June 1988 by county, state and federal agencies (1). Investigators detected residues in 14 of the 41 counties where 2,977 wells were sampled. Of the 179 pesticide related compounds tested, 10 chemicals were detected: 1, 2 - dichloropropane (1,2-D) 1,2,-dibromo-3-cholropropane (DBCP), Dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE), Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), altrazine, bentazon, chlorothal-dimethyl, simazine, trifluralin, and xylene. Simazine is the only chemical detected whose source was agriculture. The three pesticides, DBCP, DDE, and DDT are no longer registered for use in California. As in previous years, DBCP was the pesticide most frequently detected. It was found in 89 percent of all wells with positive samples.

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