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Factors affecting 1,2,3-trichloropropane contamination in groundwater in California

April 5, 2019

1,2,3-Trichloropropane (1,2,3-TCP) is a volatile organic chemical of eminent concern due to its carcinogenic, mutagenic, and reproductive effects, and its frequent occurrence at concentrations of concern worldwide. In California, 1,2,3-TCP was detected in 6.5% of 1237 wells sampled by the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS). About 8% of domestic wells had a detection of 1,2,3-TCP, compared to 5% of public-supply wells. 1,2,3-TCP was detected in 5.5% of most recent samples from 7787 public-supply well sources of the California State Water Resources Control Board Division of Drinking Water (DDW). Concentrations ranged from <0.005 to 2.7 μg/L. The California maximum contaminant level (MCL) is 0.005 μg/L. Most of the detections occurred in the San Joaquin Valley, where 1,2,3-TCP was detected above the MCL in 16% of USGS sampled wells and 18% of DDW wells. 1,2,3-TCP occurrence and concentrations are related to legacy fumigant use and hydrogeologic factors. Understanding factors affecting 1,2,3-TCP will aid in determining vulnerability and long term persistence in the San Joaquin Valley, which can help focus efforts to manage drinking water resources on the most vulnerable areas and also inform efforts in other areas of the state and worldwide. Widespread occurrence of 1,2,3-TCP is related to nonpoint source agricultural contaminant inputs. High concentrations of 1,2,3-TCP are in young, shallow, oxic groundwater beneath primarily orchard/vineyard crops. These areas are in coarse-grained sediments that promote rapid recharge, related to proximal alluvial fan sediments deposited by large streams that drain glaciated watersheds of the Sierra Nevada. 1,2,3-TCP co-occurs with 1,2-dibromo-3-chloropropane (DBCP) and 1,2-dichloropropane (1,2-DCP) throughout modern age groundwater, indicating its long term persistence with little degradation. The highest concentrations of 1,2,3-TCP were observed at point source cleanup sites in urban areas; depending on the age and source of groundwater to nearby public-supply wells, these areas may see increasing concentrations of 1,2,3-TCP.

Publication Year 2019
Title Factors affecting 1,2,3-trichloropropane contamination in groundwater in California
DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.03.420
Authors Karen R. Burow, Walter D. Floyd, Matthew K. Landon
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Science of the Total Envionrment
Index ID 70252905
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization California Water Science Center