Is tile drainage water representative of root zone leaching of pesticides?

Authors

  • Ole H Jacobsen,

    Corresponding author
    1. Aarhus University, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Research Centre Foulum, Blichers Allé 20, P.O. BOX 50 DK-8830 Tjele, Denmark
    • Aarhus University, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Research Centre Foulum, Blichers Allé 20, P.O. BOX 50 DK-8830 Tjele, Denmark
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  • Jeanne Kjær

    1. Department of Geochemistry, Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, Denmark
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Abstract

Given the methods presently available, determination of flux-averaged concentrations of pesticides in structured soils is always a compromise. Most of the available methods entail major uncertainties and limitations. Tile drainage monitoring has several advantages, but the extent to which it is representative of overall leaching has been questioned because it comprises a mixture of water of different origins. This literature review evaluates whether drainage water pesticide concentrations are representative of root zone leaching of pesticides. As there are no reports quantifying the extent to which the flux-averaged concentration of pesticides in drainage water differs from that found between the drains, evidence-based conclusions cannot be drawn. Nevertheless, the existing literature does suggest that the concentration in drainage water does not always correspond to the concentration at drain depth between the drains; depending on the conditions pertaining, the concentrations may be higher or lower. As to whether the flux-averaged concentration of pesticides in drainage water is representative of the interdrain concentration at drain depth it is concluded that (1) the representativeness of drainage water concentrations can be questioned on very well-drained soils and on poorly drained soils with little capacity for lateral transport beneath the plough layer, (2) the conditions provided by relatively porous soils and moderate climatic conditions are conducive to the drainage water concentration being representative and (3) drainage water will be more representative in the case of weakly sorbed pesticides than for strongly sorbed pesticides. Used critically, it is thus believed that drainage water concentrations can serve to characterize the flux-averaged concentration of pesticides at drain depth. However, the use of drainage water for determining average concentrations necessitates thorough investigation and interpretation of precipitation, percolation, drain outflow and concentration dynamics. Copyright © 2007 Society of Chemical Industry

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