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Publication Abstract

Characterization of the Study Areas for the Pilot Study: Agricultural Chemicals in Rural, Private Wells in Illinois Edited by: Barnhardt, Michael L., Edward Mehnert, Chittaranjan Ray, and Susan C. Schock, 1992  Illinois State Water Survey, Champaign, IL,  ISWS COOP-15    Full Text Available

The Illinois Groundwater Protection Act of 1987 (PA 85-863) mandated that the impact of pesticides on groundwater be evaluated. Because pesticide use is widespread in rural areas and groundwater is the major source of drinking water in rural areas, the Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) and the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) developed recommendations for a statewide survey of agricultural chemicals in rural, private water wells in Illinois (McKenna et al. 1989).

This pilot study was undertaken to develop and evaluate field, analytical, and database management methodologies that would be applied in a statewide survey. Such an evaluation of the research design would assist in streamlining and making more economically feasible the statewide survey recommended by McKenna et al. (1989). Specifically, the pilot study evaluated the validity of using the potential for contamination of shallow aquifers as the stratification variable by assessing the occurrence of agricultural chemicals in rural, private wells in representative hydrogeologic settings in Illinois (McKenna et al. 1989). Additional objectives included field testing well selection procedures; conducting well user interviews; training Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) personnel in sampling procedures; and establishing and evaluating techniques for database management, laboratory management, and quality assurance/quality control. The results of the pilot study could be used in a statewide survey to determine the number of wells necessary for characterizing the quality of water pumped from rural, domestic wells, while at the same time maintaining an acceptable level of statistical reliability and analytical precision.

This report summarizes the land use, agricultural, geologic, and hydrologic characterizations of the five representative settings in the pilot study. A companion report, Pilot Study: Agricultural Chemicals in Rural, Private Wells in Illinois (Schock et al. 1992), discusses the project design, sampling methodology, and statistical analysis and interpretation of the chemical analyses. Schock et al. (1992) also present recommendations for conducting a statewide survey and propose modifications in the sampling and chemical analysis protocols. The volume of the characterization material warranted publication as a separate document. Both reports should be reviewed concurrently to fully understand the objectives, methodologies, and results of the pilot study.

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