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Infiltration of atrazine and metabolites from a stream to an alluvial aquifer

January 1, 1997

The infiltration of atrazine, deethylatrazine, and deisopropylatrozine from Walnut Creek, a tributary stream, to the alluvial valley aquifer along the South Skunk River in central Iowa occurred where the stream transects the river's flood plain. A preliminary estimate indicated that the infiltration was significant and warrants further investigation. Infiltration was estimated by measuring the loss of stream discharge in Walnut Creek and the concentrations of atrazine and its metabolites deethylatrazine and deisopropylatrazine, in ground water 1 m beneath the streambed. Infiltration was estimated before application of agrichemicals to the fields during a dry period on April 7, 1994, and after application of agrichemicals during a period of small runoff on June 8, 1994. On April 7, the flux of atrazine, deethylatrazine, and deisopropylatrazine from Walnut Creek into the alluvial valley aquifer ranged from less than 10 to 60 (??g/d)/m2, whereas on June 8 an increased flux ranged from 270 to 3060 (??g/d)/m2. By way of comparison, the calculated fluxes of atrazine beneath Walnut Creek, for these two dates, were two to five orders of magnitude greater than an estimated flux of atrazine to ground water caused by leaching from a field on a per-unit-area basis. Furthermore, the unit-area flux rates of water from Walnut Creek to the alluvial valley aquifer were about three orders of magnitude greater than estimated recharge to the alluvial aquifer from precipitation. The large flux of chemicals from Walnut Creek to the alluvial valley aquifer was due in part to the conductive streambed and rather fast ground water velocities; average vertical hydraulic conductivity through the streambed was calculated as 35 and 90 m/d for the two sampling dates, and estimated ground water velocities ranged from 1 to 5 m/d.

Citation Information

Publication Year 1997
Title Infiltration of atrazine and metabolites from a stream to an alluvial aquifer
Authors P. J. Squillace, M. R. Burkart, W.W. Simpkins
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of the American Water Resources Association
Index ID 70019920
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse