US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Published in Environ. Sci. Technol. 1993, 27, 134-139.


A study was conducted during 1990 through an 11.2-km reach of Roberts Creek in northeastern Iowa to determine the fate of atrazine in a surface water environment. Water samples were collected at ~1-month intervals from April through November during stable low to medium flow conditions and analyzed for atrazine and two of its initial biotic degradation products, desethylatrazine and deisopropylatrazine. Samples were collected on the basis of a Lagrangian model of streamflow in order to sample the same parcel of water as it moved downstream. Atrazine concentrations substantially decreased (roughly 25-60% ) between water entering and exiting the study reach during four of the seven sampling periods. During these same four sampling periods, the concentrations of the two biotic atrazine degradation products were constant or decreasing downstream, suggesting an abiotic degradation process.