Does the use of pesticides affect our Nation's water quality?

Pesticide use in the United States has increased because not only must we supply our exploding population with food, but crops and food are also grown for export to other countries. The United States has become the largest producer of food products in the world, partly owing to our use of modern chemicals (pesticides) to control the insects, weeds, and other organisms that attack food crops. But, as with many things in life, there's a hidden cost to the benefit we get from pesticides. We've learned that pesticides can potentially harm the environment and our own health. Water plays an important role here because it is one of the main ways that pesticides are transported from the areas where they are applied to other locations where they might cause health problems.

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Why is our porcelain sink stained brown?

The brown stain is from a large amount of iron in your water. It is closely related to simple rust that you see on metal, which is iron oxide. Your water probably comes from groundwater that filtered through rocks containing iron-rich minerals on its way to the well. Learn more: USGS Water Science School: Water Color USGS Drinking Water and Source...

Why does my drinking water look cloudy sometimes?

Once in a while you get a glass of water that looks cloudy; maybe milky is a better term. After a few seconds, it miraculously clears up! The cloudiness is due to tiny air bubbles in the water. Like any bubbles, the air rises to the top of the water and goes into the air, clearing up the water. The water in the pipes coming into your house might...

Where can I find information about my local drinking water supply?

The best way to learn about your local drinking water quality is to read the annual drinking water quality report/consumer confidence report that water suppliers now send out by July 1 of each year. The reports are often sent out with water bills, but they may be sent separately. The reports tell where drinking water comes from, what contaminants...

What can cause our water to have an earthy odor or to smell like rotten eggs?

Naturally-occurring organic compounds are created when plant material decays in lakes and reservoirs. Those organic compounds frequently cause musty, earthy odors, especially toward the end of summer. The odors can be objectionable, but generally are not harmful to health. However, odors can be caused by other constituents as well, so you might...

Where can I find information about bottled water?

Bottled water is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and by individual states. For general information about bottled water, sources include the International Bottled Water Association and NSF International .

What can be causing our drinking water to have a reddish color?

Your water might be affected by iron, which is a commonly-occurring constituent of drinking water. Iron tends to add a rusty, reddish-brown (or sometimes yellow) color to water. If the color is more black than red, your water might contain a combination of iron and manganese. Both of these metals can cause staining of plumbing fixtures or laundry...
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Date published: September 11, 2014

20-Year Study Shows Levels of Pesticides Still a Concern for Aquatic Life in U.S. Rivers and Streams

Levels of pesticides continue to be a concern for aquatic life in many of the Nation’s rivers and streams in agricultural and urban areas, according to a new USGS study spanning two decades (1992-2011). Pesticide levels seldom exceeded human health benchmarks.

Date published: March 3, 2006

Pesticides in the Nation's Streams and Ground Water

Today, the U.S. Geological Survey released a report describing the occurrence of pesticides in streams and ground water during 1992-2001.

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Pesticide Map for Pollinator Story
September 27, 2016

Pesticide Map for Pollinator Story

These USGS maps show the increase in imidacloprid pesticide (one pesticide correlated with collapse in bee colonies) on agricultural land from 1992 to 2014 in the conterminous United States.

Pesticide sampling at Conowingo Dam
January 31, 2016

Pesticide sampling at Conowingo Dam

Water Quality sampling off of catwalk at Conowingo Dam.

Lowering pump down monitoring well to sample for pesticides
May 14, 2015

Lowering pump down monitoring well to sample for pesticides

Lowering pump down monitoring well to sample for pesticides

Crop dusting is one technique used to spread pesticides on agricultural lands in the Albemarle Sound region.
June 4, 2012

Crop dusting spreads pesticides on agricultural lands, Albemarle Sound

Albemarle Sound National Monitoring Network Pilot

Albemarle Monitoring: Organics

Crop dusting is one technique used to spread pesticides on agricultural lands
in the Albemarle Sound region.