Agricultural Chemical Monitoring Program Overview

Author(s): Billiot, J.

Agriculture is Mississippi’s number one industry. A wide variety of agricultural compounds are used to support this industry. Since over ninety percent of the population of Mississippi relies on groundwater for drinking water, there has been concern that the groundwater resources of Mississippi may be impacted and degraded by the use of pesticides and herbicides. In an effort to better determine the impact of agricultural chemicals on groundwater resources, the Agricultural Chemical (AgChem) Groundwater Monitoring Program was designed in 1986 and implemented in March of 1989. Since the inception of the program, over 2,100 samples have been taken from wells around the state and analyzed for more than 100 herbicides and pesticides. Of the samples collected to date, 96.6% have no detectable concentrations of agricultural chemicals present. Of these samples with detects, only four were found to have concentrations exceeding the maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Results indicate that Mississippi’s groundwater quality is relatively unaffected by agricultural activities.

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