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Fate and effects of insecticides in vegetated agricultural drainage ditches and constructed wetlands

Verbleib und Wirkung von Insektiziden in landwirtschaftlichen Entwässerungsgräben und künstlichen Feuchtgebieten

  • Studies have shown that runoff and spray-drift are important sources of nonpoint-source pesticide pollution of surface waters. Owing to this, public concern over the presence of pesticides in surface and ground water has resulted in intensive scientific efforts to find economical, yet environmentally sound solutions to the problem. The primary objective of this research was to assess the effectiveness of vegetated aquatic systems in providing buffering between natural aquatic ecosystems and agricultural landscape following insecticide associated runoff and spray-drift events. The first set of studies were implemented using vegetated agricultural ditches, one in Mississippi, USA, using pyrethroids (bifenthrin, lambda-cyhalothrin) under simulated runoff conditions and the other in the Western Cape, South Africa using the organophosphate insecticide, azinphos-methyl (AZP), under natural runoff and spray-drift conditions. The second set of studies were implemented using constructed wetlands, one in the Western Cape using AZP under natural spray-drift conditions and the other in Mississippi, USA using the organophosphate MeP under simulated runoff conditions. Results from the Mississippi-ditch study indicated that ditch lengths of less than 300 m would be sufficient to mitigate bifenthrin and lambda-cyhalothrin. In addition, data from mass balance calculations determined that the ditch plants were the major sink (generally > 90%) and/or sorption site for the rapid dissipation of the above pyrethroids from the water column. Similarly, results from the ditch study in South Africa showed that a 180 m vegetated system was effective in mitigating AZP after natural spray drift and low flow runoff events. Analytical results from the first wetland study show that the vegetated wetland was more effective than the non-vegetated wetland in reducing loadings of MeP. Mass balance calculations indicated approximately 90% of MeP mass was associated with the plant compartment. Ninety-six hours after the contamination, a significant negative acute effect of contamination on abundances was found in 8 out of the 15 macroinvertebrate species in both wetland systems. Even with these toxic effects, the overall reaction of macroinvertebrates clearly demonstrated that the impact of MeP in the vegetated wetland was considerably lower than in the non-vegetated wetland. Results from the constructed wetland study in South Africa revealed that concentrations of AZP at the inlet of the 134 m wetland system were reduced by 90% at the outlet. Overall, results from all of the studies in this thesis indicate that the presence of the plant compartment was essential for the effective mitigation of insecticide contamination introduced after both simulated and natural runoff or spray-drift events. Finally, both the vegetated agricultural drainage ditch and vegetated constructed wetland systems studied would be effective in mitigating pesticide loadings introduced from either runoff or spray-drift, in turn lowering or eliminating potential pesticide associated toxic effects in receiving aquatic ecosystems. Data produced in this research provide important information to reduce insecticide risk in exposure assessment scenarios. It should be noted that incorporating these types of best management practices (BMPs) will decrease the risk of acute toxicity, but chronic exposure may still be an apparent overall risk.

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Author:Erin R. Bennett
Subtitle (English):a valuable approach in risk mitigation
Subtitle (German):ein wertvoller Ansatz zur Risikominimierung
Referee:Ralf Schulz
Advisor:Ralf Schulz
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Date of completion:2006/04/26
Date of publication:2006/04/26
Publishing institution:Universität Koblenz-Landau, Campus Landau, Universitätsbibliothek
Granting institution:Universität Koblenz-Landau, Campus Landau, Fachbereich 7
Date of final exam:2006/04/12
Release Date:2006/04/26
Tag:Aquatische Makrophyten; Diffuse Quellen; Drainagegräben; Oberflächen-Runoff; Risikominimierung
aquatic macrophytes; non-point source; organophosphate; pyrethroids; spray-drift
GND Keyword:Abdrift <Pflanzenbau>; Feuchtgebiet; Insektizid; Pestizid; Pflanzenschutzmittel; Phosphorsäureester; Pyrethroide; Risikomanagement
Number of pages:ix, 189
Institutes:Fachbereich 7 / Fachbereich 7
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 57 Biowissenschaften; Biologie / 570 Biowissenschaften; Biologie
Licence (German):License LogoEs gilt das deutsche Urheberrecht: § 53 UrhG