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PestiBytes Episode 24: Pesticides in Groundwater

headphones Introduction/Conclusion: Dr. Dave Stone, Director of the National Pesticide Information Center
Host: Diana Rohlman, Environmental and Health Sciences Center
Guest: Humberto Nation, NPIC Pesticide Specialist

DR. STONE: Welcome to PestiBytes, a podcast series from the National Pesticide Information Center. These are based on common pesticide questions from people just like you.


DIANA:This is Diana and I'm here with Humberto to talk about pesticides and groundwater. Humberto, what can a person do to avoid contaminating their well water with pesticides?

HUMBERTO: First, consider if you actually need to apply a pesticide. Can you use other methods to get rid of your pest? If not, familiarize yourself with your well; how is constructed, is it lined and capped? What is the ground cover like? How deep is the water table? What types of soils are in your area?

DIANA: What would be the worst-case scenario, considering all of those factors?

HUMBERTO: The risk would be highest if your well was not lined or capped, the water table was shallow, and the soil was very sandy with very few plants growing. Of course, you have to consider the product, as well.

DIANA: How should we do that?

HUMBERTO: If your concern is the groundwater that feeds your well, the best thing to do is to carefully read the entire label before using a pesticide. The U.S. EPA evaluates each pesticide for its potential impact on groundwater and surface water.

DIANA: What information should someone look for on the product label?

HUMBERTO: If a pesticide is determined to pose a risk, a statement is added to the "Environmental Hazards" section of the product label. Some products will clearly state: "Do not apply directly to water" or "Do not use near water bodies." Others will be more specific with a "Groundwater Advisory" statement."

DIANA: What if there is no mention of water concerns on the label?

HUMBERTO: Then you can move forward knowing that groundwater contamination was not identified as a risk of concern for that particular product.

DIANA: Are there resources available for private well owners?

HUMBERTO: Yes, most states have information on drinking water wells and groundwater for private wells owners, and some states offer free well testing.

DIANA: Thank you Humberto!

HUMBERTO: You're welcome!


DR. STONE: If you have questions about pesticides, please call us at 1-800-858-7378 or visit us on the web at http://npic.orst.edu. PestiBytes is brought to you by the National Pesticide Information Center, a cooperative agreement between Oregon State University and the Environmental Protection Agency. These are produced in collaboration with OSU's Environmental Health Sciences Center, funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

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If you have questions about this, 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.

Last updated March 18, 2014

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Natural and Biological Pesticides



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Disponible en español

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