Kentucky Geological Survey Report of Investigations


Nutrients and pesticides applied during routine maintenance or establishment of turfgrass could result in nonpoint-source pollution. Nutrient and pesticide concentrations in water exiting a turfgrass management area in the Sinking Creek watershed, a suburban watershed in the Inner Blue Grass Region of central Kentucky, were monitored. This watershed was selected because it contains multiple land uses: agricultural, residential, and recreational (golf course).

A survey was conducted to determine the extent to which lawn-care products are used in the residential sector of the watershed. For the golf-course portion, the golf-course superintendent recorded chemical application daily.

Runoff from the golf course was sampled in 1993 where the stream exits the golf-course property. Sinking Creek was sampled upstream and downstream of the Tashamingo subdivision from April through October 1996 and January through February 1997. Weekly grab samples and three storm sample sequences (spring, summer, and fall) were analyzed to determine pesticide and nutrient concentrations.

The analysis results revealed that few instances of pesticide concentrations in Sinking Creek exceeded minimum detectable levels and none exceeded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency drinking-water limits during the sampling period. The herbicide 2,4-D was detected in Sinking Creek at both sample locations. In addition to 2,4-D, the insecticide chlorpyrifos was detected at the golf-course exit. Increases in pesticides and nutrients in Sinking Creek coincided with spring application of turfgrass chemicals in the suburban portion of the watershed. Concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus were low and similar to what would be expected for the land use.

Publication Date



Series XII

Report Number

Report of Investigations 5

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Notes/Citation Information

© 2000 University of Kentucky