Overview of the Department of the Interior's National Irrigation Water Quality Program

by Richard A. Engberg, Natl Irrigation Water Quality, Program, Washington, United States,
Anthony J. Cappellucci, Natl Irrigation Water Quality, Program, Washington, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Management of Irrigation and Drainage Systems: Integrated Perspectives


The Department of the Interior National Irrigation Water Quality Program was started in 1985 in response to concerns about contamination of water, bottom sediment and biota in National Wildlife Refuges or migratory bird use areas by trace constituents or pesticides in drainwater from Department of the Interior constructed or managed irrigation projects in 17 conterminous western States. The Program has five phases. In site identification (phase 1), over 600 irrigation projects were aggregated and studied; and thirty-one aggregated areas were selected for further study. By 1991, reconnaissance investigations (phase 2) have been or area being carried out in 25 areas and detailed studies (phase 3) have been or area being carried out in 7 areas. Planning for remediation (phase 4) studies began in 1991 for 4 areas. Remediation (phase 5) is not yet underway for any area. General observations from completed phase 2 and 3 studies include: 1. Selenium is the constituent of concern most frequently found at elevated levels westside. 2. Irrigation-induced contamination problems are most likely to occur in areas where marine shale deposits are found. 3. Trace constituent problems in biota are greatest in areas of no external drainage. 4. Variations in meteorological conditions may affect the potential for irrigation induced contamination problems. 5. Irrigation-induced contamination may be very site-specific.

Subject Headings: Water quality | Irrigation | Water pollution | Irrigation water | Drainage | Quality control | Aggregates | United States | North America | Oregon | Washington

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