Pesticides and Groundwater
TCEQ is the state lead agency for the protection of groundwater quality relative to pesticides. The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) is the state lead agency in the regulation of pesticide use and application, including the licensing of applicators who make pesticide applications in and around structures.
The TCEQ Groundwater Planning and Assessment Team's pesticide staff are responsible for various aspects of groundwater protection from pesticides.
The Agricultural Chemicals Subcommittee (ACS) provides support to the Texas Groundwater Protection Committee (TGPC) in matters concerning actual and potential pesticide and other agricultural chemical contamination of groundwater. Participants include government agencies, agricultural producer groups, environmental groups, the agricultural chemical industry, and other interested parties.
The TCEQ has compiled and maintains a database, the Interagency Pesticide Database (IPD), which contains pesticide groundwater monitoring data acquired from various agencies and other entities from across the state. The data is primarily from non-commercial sites and not from facilities subject to the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). For further information, see the IPD Map and Draft IPD Report below, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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TCEQ staff conduct various monitoring activities related to pesticides in groundwater. Before monitoring begins each year, a groundwater monitoring plan is presented to and approved by the ACS. Various types of monitoring include:
- Cooperative screening for specific pesticides;
- Investigative monitoring where higher pesticide concentrations are detected;
- Follow-up monitoring for long-term trend assessment; and,
- Targeted monitoring for specific types of pesticides in specific areas.
The data from the various pesticide groundwater monitoring activities is compiled and maintained in the IPD and reported to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under grant requirements. One useful tool has been immunoassay (IA) screening in conjunction with cooperative monitoring - a summary of this approach and how it can be useful in other programs is available. (PDF)
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It is TCEQ's policy to help ensure maintenance of the state's groundwater and surface water quality, through planning, education, and cooperation with other state agencies and the public and private sectors. The TCEQ Groundwater Planning and Assessment Team provides support towards this end, including the implementation of programs aimed at the prevention and assessment of groundwater contamination by pesticides.
A plan entitled Texas State Management Plan for Prevention of Pesticide Contamination of Groundwater has been developed which describes the general policies and regulatory approaches the state will use in order to protect groundwater resources from risk of contamination by pesticides. The plan outlines a mechanism to coordinate all responsible and participating agencies in the implementation of specific responses for any given circumstance of pesticide contamination of groundwater. The PMP reflects the state's philosophy toward groundwater protection and recognizes the importance of agricultural resources to the state's economy.