The Big Blue River Basin is located in southeastern Nebraska and northeastern Kansas and consists of surface water in the Big Blue River, Little Blue River, Black Vermillion River, and various tributaries draining 24,968 km2. Approximately 75% of the land area in the basin are cultivated cropland. The Big Blue River flows into Tuttle Creek Reservoir near Manhattan, Kansas. Releases from the lake are used to maintain streamflow in the Kansas River during low flow periods, contributing 27% of the mean flow rate of the Kansas River at its confluence with the Missouri River. Tuttle Creek Reservoir and the Kansas River are used as sources of public drinking water and meet many of the municipal drinking water supply needs of the urban population in Kansas from Junction City to Kansas City. Elevated concentrations of pesticides in the Big Blue River Basin are of growing concern in Kansas and Nebraska as concentrations may be exceeding public drinking water standards and water quality criteria for the protection of aquatic life. Pesticides cause significant problems for municipal water treatment plants in Kansas, as they are not appreciably removed during conventional water treatment processes unless activated carbon filtering is used. Pesticides have been detected during all months of the year with concentrations ranging up to 200 μg/l. If high concentration in water is associated with high flow conditions then large mass losses of pesticides can flow into the water supplies in this basin. This paper will investigate the use of a monitoring program to assess the non-point source of this atrazine contamination. Several practices will be examined that have shown ability to remediate or prevent these impairments.

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