Pesticides in Upstate New York's Ground
Orange Report (PDF)
County was chosen as the sampling area for our third round of
testing based on its conjunction of high ground water dependence with
heavier pesticide use. Pesticide use maps show the highest use per unit
of area in the highly productive agricultural area known as the "black
dirt" (organic soil) region used for concentrated vegetable production.
The County Soil and Water
Conservation District (SWCD) recommended candidate sampling sites
and sampled the wells of those landowners who agreed.
Orange County relies heavily on local
ground water for both public supplies and individual household wells.
The largest urbanized areas are served by public water supply systems
that use surface water and reservoirs. Smaller developed areas
typically have water districts employing wells, while hamlets and
isolated houses rely on individual wells.
Orange County has been one of the
fastest growing areas of New York, developing heavily along its
transportation corridors of NY Route 17 and the Thruway. The rapidly
urbanizing Goshen area (photo below) is near the famed "black dirt"
intensive vegetable production area.
Orange County SWCD staff sampled 40
wells in 2007. As in Cortland and Schenectady counties, State lab
analysis found no detectable levels of any of the 93
pesticides for which they tested with detection limits of 1
µg/L (1 part per billion) or less. Cornell's immunoassay analysis found
quantifiable levels of atrazine (two samples) and diazinon (one
sample), but all at levels that were well below relevant drinking water
quality standards. There were also even lower non-quantifiable trace
detections of atrazine (3 samples), diazinon (1 sample)
and metolachlor (5 samples). Nitrate
results were good, with only one well above 5 mg/L nitrate-N, and none
over 6 mg/L.
The work in Orange County provided
an interesting contrast with concurrent round 4 work in Cayuga County.
view of Goshen and black dirt area