Ground water, a hidden resource whose volume is over 50 times that of the nation's surface water, was once thought to remain forever pure. People had little reason not to believe that the soil would naturally purify water returning to an aquifer. It was not until the late 1970s when the Love Canal and Times Beach incidences redirected public opinion and touched off a nationwide concern for the protection of ground water.
In August 1984, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a Ground Water Protection Strategy to "provide a common reference for responsible institutions as they work toward the shared goal of preserving, for current and future generations, clean ground water for drinking and other uses, while protecting the public health of citizens who may be exposed to the effects of past contamination."1 More specifically, "EPA will increase efforts to protect ground water from pesticide and nitrate contamination."
In response, the EPA's Office of Pesticide Protection reviewed existing information on the extent and causes of pesticide contamination, its potential health hazards, existing statutory authorities, and programs available to aid state policy makers. An increased interest in solving problems associated with pesticides in ground water has resulted in the EPA's current development of a national strategy on Agricultural Chemicals in Ground Water. This strategy will outline the EPA's general course of action in addressing the problem of pesticides in ground water during the next 5 to 10 yr. The purpose of this report is to provide EPA with suggestions to be considered in the formulation of the strategy.