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In 1997, the U.S.Geological Survey (USGS) and the City of Rochester began a cooperative program to study the presence of pesticides (herbicides and insecticides) that occur at trace levels in Hemlock and Canadice Lakes and their tributaries. The most frequently detected pesticides in streamflow and lake-water samples were herbicides commonly used in agriculture — atrazine, metolachlor, and simazine. None of the concentrations of these compounds in the samples exceeded Federal or State water-quality standards. Differences in the concentrations among stream samples can be attributed to land use and streamflow, and the timing of rainfall in relation to herbicide application.

The north (lower) end of Hemlock Lake can receive pesticides in agricultural runoff from northern parts of its watershed and Canadice Creek. These pesticide inputs bypass most of the lake and could periodically affect the water quality periodically affect the water quality at the City of Rochester intake. Pesticide concentrations in samples from the intake during this study, however, were about 100 times less than current Federal and State standards for drinking water.

Residues of DDT, dieldrin, and mirex are present in low concentrations in the bottom sediments of both lakes, but none were detected in water samples. The use of these insecticides was banned in 1972,and their persistence in the lakebed sediments is probably due to erosion of contaminated soils from agricultural lands.


Water-Resources Investigations Report 99-4271