National Pesticide Information Center



Water and Pesticides

Clean waters provide healthy ecosystems for wildlife, plants and people. Inland fresh water is the source for 70% of U.S. drinking water supply, so protecting that supply from unnecessary contamination is important. Multiple federal and state agencies, including the EPA, work together to regulate pesticides and protect our waters.

Pesticides can be beneficial for the control of pests like weeds and insects, but every pesticide (including organic pesticides) has some level of toxicity to organisms that live in or drink water. Read the label completely before using a pesticide in or near water. Pesticide labels have "environmental hazard statements" that:

  • Describe the product's relative risk to waterways
  • List the required precautions that applicators must take to protect water
  • Name sensitive species like fish, amphibians or birds

To learn more about pesticides and water, visit these resources:

If you have questions about pesticides in the environment, or any pesticide-related topic, please call NPIC at 1-800-858-7378 (8:00am - 12:00pm PST), or email at npic@ace.orst.edu.

Additional Resources

Last updated January 13, 2016