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Pesticides and metabolites in groundwater: examples from two\ud major UK aquifers

By D.J. Lapworth, D.C. Gooddy, M.E. Stuart, I. Harrison and P.J. Chilton

Abstract

Reducing the impact of anthropogenic pollution on groundwater bodies and ameliorating any deterioration of water quality is central to key legislative drivers such as the EU Water Framework Directive and the proposed daughter Directive relating to the protection of groundwater. Pesticide pollution has a direct impact on groundwater quality and an indirect impact on the associated aquatic ecosystems supported by groundwater. There is currently no legislative requirement to monitor pesticide metabolite concentrations in groundwater. Pesticide and metabolite results from two nationally important aquifers are presented, the Trassic Sandstone and the Chalk of Southern England.\ud \ud Aerobic microbial degradation of diuron in the soil can\ud lead to the formation of three compounds; dichlorophenylmethyl urea (DCPMU), dichlorophenyl\ud urea (DCPU) and dichloroanaline (DCA).Median diuron concentrations were significantly higher\ud than each of the metabolites with outliers exceeding the\ud PVC on at least one occasion. At nine sites in Kent, Southern England, (60%) metabolites were more prevalent than diuron. Both aquifers are an important source of water, locally supplying up to 80% of public drinking water. The sandstone site has a predominantly arable landuse with a potential diffuse source of pesticides although soakaways are possible point sources.The chalk site has a mixture of arable and industrial/urban\ud landuse. A significant source has been from excessive\ud applications of diuron (“over-spray”) on a number of public\ud amenities. Data from both aquifers show that pesticide concentrations have a high degree of temporal variability. Elevated pesticide concentrations are associated with recharge events in both aquifer systems regardless of pesticide source terms. Pesticides from amenity use and diffuse agricultural sources both pose a threat to groundwater quality. Pesticide metabolites are present in significant concentrations in groundwaters. Systematic, long-term monitoring (5-10 years) is required to understand trends in groundwater quality

Topics: Agriculture and Soil Science, Hydrology, Chemistry
Year: 2007
OAI identifier: oai:nora.nerc.ac.uk:13996

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