Craven & Carteret Water Quality Study: Potential Impacts on Pesticide Application

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Ideal solution pH for pesticide applicationAs discussed in the article, Craven County Survey of Water Quality Impacts on Pesticides, pesticide half-life can be drastically reduced due to poor water quality. Some product efficacy may be reduced in as little as 10 minutes when mixed with water with poor quality. Additionally, many of the commonly used herbicides are salt-based products. The high alkalinity (hard water) typically associated with water sources in this area may greatly reduce herbicide absorption, as well as rapidly degree the herbicide’s active ingredients. Too, water sources in this area have a wide range of pH from as low as 3.5 to as high as 8.5 resulting in rapid degradation of pesticides. As such,  N.C. Cooperative Extension in Craven County will be providing free water samples (limit of 2) for commercial farmers and commercial pesticide applicators in Craven and Carteret Counties to examine water quality of water sources used for pesticide application.

deal solution pH for pesticide application is between 5.5-6.5

Ideal solution pH for pesticide application

Each water sample will be analyzed by the NCDA & CS Agronomic Division. Associated fees will be paid by NC Extension. Data will be pooled for analysis to determine the extent that poor water quality may be negatively impacting pesticide performance.

Typically, larger producers utilize very large tanks to move water from farm to farm. If the pesticide is mixed with this water at the application site and immediately applied, then no negative impacts to pesticide application would be anticipated. However, if pesticides are mixed and stored in a tank with poor water quality, some pesticides efficacy may be greatly reduced.

This study will specifically target source water pH and alkalinity. However, other qualities will be measured. Copies and recommendations will be sent to each participant by the NCDA & CS Agronomic Division. Individuals wishing to participate may contact N.C. Cooperative Extension, Craven Center by calling 252-633-1747 or email the coordinator directly at

To collects samples, water should be run through the water source for at least 10 minutes. Approximately 20 ounces should be collected in a clean plastic bottle. The sample should be refrigerated until sent to the lab. To reduce water use, N.C. Cooperative Extension will work to schedule samples when the participant is filling equipment/greenhouse or other water use.

A form required to begin the testing process is attached below. If interested, simply fill out the form and email directly to Mike Carroll.

Craven & Carteret Water Quality Study Information Form