Submitted to: Soil and Water Conservation Society
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/1/2006
Publication Date: 7/23/2007
Citation: Fausey, N.R., King, K.W., Dunn, R., Edwards, T., Ufferman, L. 2007. Conservation program (EQIP) reduces atrazine in Columbus, OH drinking water supply reservoir [abstract]. Soil and Water Conservation Society. p. 104. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Conservation dollars applied in the Upper Big Walnut Creek Watershed have achieved a significant reduction in the atrazine levels in Hover Reservoir, a major drinking water source for Columbus, Ohio. During the 1990s, atrazine levels in this reservoir periodically exceeded the health advisory limit of 3 parts per billion (ppb). To reduce these elevated levels of atrazine, the city used activated carbon to filter all the drinking water, incurring very high water treatment costs. Working with the Upper Big Walnut Water Quality Partnership, an all volunteer group of local farmers, the Delaware County Soil and Water Conservation District and the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and Farm Services Agency targeted producers who were using atrazine within the watershed. Starting in 2000, farmers were paid for adopting one of three options to reduce atrazine application on those fields they enrolled in this program. Once a field was enrolled, the funding was available for a five year period. New fields could be enrolled during each of five consecutive years assuring a ten year period of atrazine reduction. EQIP invested $1.2 million and, as a result of lowered concentrations of atrazine in the reservoir, Columbus saved $3.1 million in water treatment costs for the activated carbon. This represents a return of $2.58 for every $1 invested in the practices supported by this conservation program.