ABSTRACT: Twenty-two of 43 pesticides analyzed were detected in 128 water samples collected from the Tucsawhatchee Creek, the Little River, and the Withlacoochee River. These streams drain agricultural basins in south-central Georgia and were sampled from March 1993 through June 1995. Herbicides were detected more frequently than insecticides. The most frequently detected herbicides were atrazine and metolachlor and the most frequently detected insecticide was carbaryl. Pesticide concentrations in the three streams were low and did not exceed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency drinking water standards. The maximum pesticide concentration was 2.6 mg/L (micrograms per liter) for propargite, a miticide detected in only one sample. The maximum concentrations of the remaining 21 pesticides were less than 0.25 mg/L. The median concentrations were equal to the method detection limit for all pesticides except atrazine (0.008 mg/L) and metolachlor (0.012 mg/L). The ratio of herbicide detections to nondetections was largest in the planting season, smaller in the harvest season and smallest in the fallow season for the three basins. The same pattern existed for the insecticide ratios in the Little River and the Withlacoochee River.
Pairwise correlations between concentrations of atrazine and metolachlor, and four parameters (discharge, and concentrations of dissolved organic carbon, suspended organic carbon, and suspended sediment) were evaluated for each stream. The strongest correlations existed between metolachlor and mean daily discharge, and metolachlor and sediment in the Withlacoochee River. The only significant correlation for the Little River was between atrazine and suspended sediment.