LIHUE — Data collected during an initial six-month period of monitoring for pesticides in surface water on Kauai and Oahu found “trace levels” in most detections.
“This multi-year surface water study goes a long way towards assuring the citizenry of Hawaii that pesticides are continuing to be used properly,” said Scott Enright, chairman of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture.
The U.S. Geological Survey is conducting the study which collected 32 water samples at 31 sites between November 2016 and April 2017 that produced 7,200 test results.
The USGS tests screened each sample for 225 pesticides, and all the results were within state and federal regulatory water quality standards, according to a Wednesday press release from the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health.
“Thirty-one of the 32 samples detected one or more pesticides,” according to the release. “However, a large majority of the detections were at trace levels that were at least 10 times lower than the federal benchmark to be protective of human health and aquatic life.”
Sixty-one different pesticide compounds were detected at least once, the release said.
The study was ordered in 2016 by HDOA and DOH in a $520,000 joint funding agreement with the USGS to provide a science-based water monitoring program as part of Gov. David Ige’s statewide initiative to help to address community concerns about pesticide use in the state.
During the monitoring period, water samples were taken during various water flow conditions, including low-flow (dry weather conditions) and high-flow (storm) conditions. Sampling areas included agricultural lands, urban and developed lands, and mixed land use.
The second year of the study is underway with pesticide monitoring being expanded to sites on Maui and Hawaii Island. In addition, USGS will retest sites on Oahu and Kauai where detections were near the benchmark levels.