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Home > Protecting Our Lands & Waters > Best Management Practices > Water Quality BMPs for Agricultural Pesticides > Background

Water Quality BMPs for Agricultural Herbicides - Background

Background: Water Quality BMPs for Herbicides

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has determined that the herbicides acetochlor, alachlor, atrazine, metolachlor and metribuzin – or their breakdown products – are frequently detected in Minnesota groundwater. The MDA has also determined that acetochlor and atrazine are detected at concentrations of concern in several state surface waters. Water resource monitoring data collected by the MDA and supporting these determinations can be reviewed in MDA Water Quality Monitoring Reports.

Based on these water quality monitoring results, the MDA is required to develop voluntary pesticide-specific Best Management Practices (BMPs) to prevent or minimize pollution, to the extent practicable, for pesticides that are commonly detected in groundwater (Minn. Stat. § 103H.275, subd. 1.(a)), and may, under Minn. Stat. chapter 18B, elect to develop water quality BMPs for other pesticides of concern.

The MDA developed a set of core BMPs that apply to the use of all agricultural herbicides, and separate, pesticide-specific BMPs for acetochlor, alachlor, atrazine, metolachlor and metribuzin, the specific herbicides present in groundwater and surface water. The core BMPs include additional information and resources helpful to farmers. Core BMPs are considered the foundation for the herbicide-specific BMPs, and are promoted statewide for all agricultural herbicide use to protect water resources.

The BMPs were developed in 2004 and updated in 2008. Subsequently, the BMPs for all agricultural herbicides and acetochlor were revised in 2010.

The MDA has developed a Pesticide Non-Point Source electronic distribution list (email listserv). Notifications of activities related to the state Pesticide Management Plan (PMP) and on pesticide BMPs will be made via this electronic list. Written notification will continue to be provided if it is specifically requested. Subscribe to MDA's non-point source electronic distribution list.


MDA Contact

Gregg Regimbal, Unit Supervisor
Pesticide Management Unit
Pesticide & Fertilizer Management Division