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Contribution of non‐agricultural pesticides to pesticide load in surface water

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Two small creeks, tributaries of the River Ruhr near Schwerte, Federal Republic of Germany, were investigated to reveal the regional agricultural and non‐agricultural sources of pesticide inputs and the main pathways to surface water. In addition, the receiving water was monitored for pesticides. The watersheds are situated at the northern margin of the Rhenian Schiefergebirge, a highland landscape in North‐Rhine–Westphalia. Solid carboniferous shale is covered by a shallow layer of quaternary unconsolidated rock (porous aquifer thickness <5 m). Occurrence of herbicides such as chlortoluron, isoproturon and terbuthylazine in surface water could be due to their broad agricultural application in regional dominant crops, such as barley, wheat and maize. Occurrence of diuron and glyphosate results from their use in residential settlements and industrial areas as well as from weed control on railway tracks. Atrazine concentrations up to 0.8 µg litre−1 indicated recent use of this herbicide, which has been banned since 1991, and was also the result of non‐agricultural applications. Pathways for pesticide input to the receiving waters were related to both surface run‐off and underground passage. Two‐thirds of the observed diuron load in the surface water resulted from an input by run‐off. This was expected as a result of total herbicide application targets to sealed surfaces infringing current regulations and recommendations. Diuron load varied between 0.6 and 1.2% of the estimated amount applied annually in the investigated catchments. Non‐agricultural pesticide use contributed more than two‐thirds of the whole observed pesticide load in the tributaries and at least one‐third in the River Ruhr. Copyright © 2004 Society of Chemical Industry
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Keywords: atrazine; diuron; load; non‐agricultural pesticides; surface water; total herbicides

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Institut für Wasserforschung GmbH Dortmund, Zum Kellerbach 46, 58239 Schwerte, Germany 2: Westfälische Wasser- und Umweltanalytik GmbH, Zum Kellerbach 46, 58239 Schwerte, Germany

Publication date: 2004-06-01

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