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Pesticide and toxicity reduction using an integrated vegetated treatment system



The California, USA, central coast is one of the most productive agricultural areas in the world, and numerous stakeholders are working there to implement conservation practices to reduce contaminated runoff. Practices include vegetated treatment systems (VTS) designed to promote contaminant reduction and breakdown. The current study evaluated the effectiveness of a vegetated drainage ditch incorporating a sedimentation basin, a vegetated section, and a Landguard organophosphate-A (OP-A) enzyme dosing system. The VTS was constructed on a working farm and was designed to remove organophosphate and pyrethroid pesticides, the primary pesticides causing toxicity in Salinas Valley watersheds. The present study was conducted during five separate irrigation events on tailwater runoff containing mixtures of pesticides and suspended sediments. Water samples were collected at four stations within the system, and these were subjected to chemical analyses and tested for toxicity to Ceriodaphnia dubia. All inflow samples were highly toxic to C. dubia, and this was largely because of diazinon. Treatment of diazinon-contaminated runoff was only partially effective using aquatic vegetation. All diazinon remaining after vegetated treatment was effectively removed after treatment with the Landguard OP-A enzyme. Chemical analysis of the VTS water samples showed that pyrethroid and organochlorine pesticide concentrations in water were greatly reduced in the sedimentation section of the ditch, and these pesticides were further reduced in the vegetated section of the ditch. The overall conclusion from these analyses is that the VTS was effective at reducing the more hydrophobic organochlorine and pyrethroid pesticides from water. The water-soluble pesticide diazinon was not sufficiently removed during the VTS residence times observed in this study; however, residual diazinon was effectively removed using Landguard OP-A. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2011; 30:1036–1043. © 2011 SETAC