​Pesticides and water quality

  • As the state lead agency for FIFRA (Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, Rodenticide Act), the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) Pesticides Program holds the primary responsibility for pesticide registration and use regulation within the state of Oregon.
  • As the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designated state lead agency for pesticides, ODA is responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of the Pesticide Management Plan (PMP) for the state of Oregon as stipulated in the annual EPA and ODA Consolidated Pesticide Cooperative Agreement.

In Oregon, statutory authority for development and enforcement of water quality policies related to pesticides lies with several different state agencies, including the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF), the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB), and ODA. An interagency team, the Water Quality Pesticide Management Team (WQPMT), composed of representatives from these agencies has been formed to efficiently address the protection of waters of the state from pesticide contamination.

WQPMT facilitates and coordinates water quality activities such as monitoring, analysis and interpretation of data, effective response measures, and management solutions. The initial goal of the WQPMT was to develop and implement a statewide pesticide management plan (PMP), which was approved by EPA in 2011.

Water Quality Pesticide Management Team (WQPMT)

Addresses water quality issues in Oregon related to pesticide use with representatives from the following agencies:

  • Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA)
  • Department of Forestry (ODF)
  • Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)
  • Oregon Health Authority (OHA)
  • Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB)
  • Oregon State University (OSU)​

WQPMT meetings

The WQPMT meets on the third Thursday every other month at locations around the state. Meeting minutes are posted below, beginning with February 2019.

WQPMT goals and objectives​

  • Identify and prioritize higher risk pesticides, use patterns, and watersheds
  • Facilitate water quality monitoring plans, resources, and activities
  • Annually evaluate pesticide water monitoring results
  • Facilitate management solutions and outreach and educational activities through local stakeholder groups to prevent or reduce pesticide contamination in water
  • Improve communication with state and federal agencies, farmers, commodity groups, OSU Extension, environmental groups, industry, local water entities, and others about pesticides and water quality
  • Measure progress and try new strategies if necessary​

Pesticides of Interest (POI) and Pesticides of Concern (POC)

POI: A pesticide that has the potential to occur at concentrations approaching or exceeding a federal, state, or tribal health, or environmental reference concentration.  

POC: A pesticide that approaches or exceeds an established benchmark concentration, indicating a possible risk to human or ecological life.

POIs may also be referred to as being a Moderate Level of Concern, and POCs may also be referred to as being a High Level of Concern. 

Nationwide, state agencies originally compiled a list of 57 active ingredients or groups of active ingredients that were most likely to affect water quality. WQPMT added additional local Oregon POI, resulting in a current total of 72. Of these 72 active ingredients, WQPMT annually selects a subset of this list for further evaluation. Designation as either POI or POC is based largely on monitoring data and other weight-of-evidence factors that may indicate a potential risk to water resources. 

In 2019, the WQPMT modified its methodology to assess the status of pesticides detected in Oregon’s waterbodies. This methodology is based on the concentration of a pesticide and the frequency at which it was detected. This analysis is conducted for each watershed participating in the Pesticide Stewardship Partnership (PSP) to designated that watersheds POI’s and POC’s. If a pesticide is determined to be a POC in 30 percent or more of the participating watershed, it is designated as a statewide POC. Pesticides are assessed every year using the last three years of data collected through the PSP and other sources meeting quality assurance requirements. 

Overall objectives

  • Identify and characterize pesticides that may pose a risk to water resources
  • Actively manage them by facilitating efforts to reduce or prevent contamination below the reference point (an established benchmark or standard)
  • Demonstrate how management efforts are keeping concentrations at acceptable levels

POI 2016-18 

  • Atrazine
  • Carbaryl
  • Dimethoate
  • Glyphosate
  • Metsulfuron methyl
  • Malathion
  • Propiconazole
  • Simazine
  • Sulfometuron methyl
    • 2,6-dichlorobenzamide (degradate of Dichlobenil)
    • AMPA (degradate of Glyphosate)

    POC 2016-18 

    • Chlorpyrifos
    • Diazinon
    • Dimethenamid-p
    • Diuron
    • Imidacloprid
    • Oxyfluorfen

    Complete list of Oregon pesticides of interest and concern

    2016-18 table of assessed pesticides

    EPA aquatic life benchmarks

    The aquatic life benchmarks (for freshwater species) provided in the table are based on toxicity values reviewed by EPA and used in the Agency's most recent risk assessments developed as part of the decision-making process for pesticide registration. EPA aquatic life benchmarks

    EPA human health benchmarks for pesticides

    The table includes benchmarks for acute (one-day) and chronic (lifetime) exposures for the most sensitive populations from exposure to pesticides that may be found in surface or ground water sources of drinking water. Human health benchmarks for pesticides

    EPA: Pest Control and Pesticide Safety for Consumers webpage

    Pest Control and Pesticide Safety for Consumers information

    Integrated Pest Management Information from Oregon State University

    IPM for nurseries information

    Nationwide list of Pesticides of Interest and Pesticides of Concern, listed by state

    List of Pesticides of Interest and Pesticides of Concern

    North Willamette Research and Extension Center

    Ways to develop and implement a program of Integrated Pest Management in northwestern Oregon. North Willamette Research and Extension Center website

    Oregon State University's Integrated Plant Protection Center

    Integrated Plant Protection Center website

    OSU Extension: Southern Oregon Research & Extension Center, Integrated Pest Management Program

    Southern Oregon Research & Extension Center, Integrated Pest Management Program webpage

    Pesticide Management Plan for Water Quality Protection

    The plan outlines the roles, policies and legal authorities of each government agency with the responsibilities for protecting Oregon's water resources from pesticides and the process by which these activities will be coordinated. Water quality pesticide management plan

    Pesticide Stewardship Partnership (PSP) letter of support from Oregon Departments of Agriculture (ODA), Forestry (ODF), and Environmental Quality (DEQ)

    Stakeholder letter

    Water Quality Pesticide Management Team poster (2012)

    Water Quality Pesticide Management Team 2012 poster

    ​​WQPMT Status Reports​

    Water Quality Pesticide Management Team: Year End Summary of Accomplishments (2018)

    WQPMT 2018 Summary

    Main Office
    Phone: 503-986-4635
    Fax: 503-986-4735

    More info from ODA