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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Arsenic Pollution from Underdrainage and Runoff from Golf Greens1


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 70 No. 1, p. 71-74
    Received: May 6, 1977

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  1. R. L. Duble,
  2. J. C. Thomas and
  3. K. W. Brown2



Modern golf greens are subject to intense management which includes frequent pesticide applications. Tricalcium arsenate, Ca3(AsO4)2, is commonly used on a regular basis for control of grubs and Poa annua even though the As losses associated with leachate and runoff have not been established. This study was thus undertaken to develop data on As losses from golf greens.

A field study was conducted using four lysimeters each 3 m by 3 in) containing a Tabor sandy loam soil (Udertic Paleustales) and 16 lysimeters containing different sand-soil-peat mixtures, each equipped with a gravel underdrainage system. The lysimeters having a sandy loam soil simulate older greens built of sandy soil placed over a gravel drainage system while those lysimeters having mixtures of sand, soil and peat typify modern greens. Bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylan L.) turf was maintained at a height of approximately 1 cm throughout the investigation. Sprinkler irrigation was used to apply approximately 1 cm of water daily. Tricalcium arsenate was applied on two dates at a rate of 88 kg ha−1. Leachate and runoff water from individual plots was collected in 208 liter barrels. This was measured and sampled on a regular basis and more frequently when required by rainfall.

Arsenic was found in significant concentrations in both drainage and runoff from lysimeters. Particularly high concentrations were found in the drainage from plots previously cored for soil samples. Concentrations of 8 ppm As were found in the drainage water from these plots. Concentrations of As in the runoff were as great as 14 ppm when a heavy rain occurred shortly after application of Ca3(AsO4)2. Drainage from the plots typically contained 1 to 3 ppm and decreased slowly with time. Arsenic concentrations of 0.8 ppm were still found in the drainage 115 days after application. Concentrations of As in the runoff and drainage from all the plots exceeded acceptable limits for irrigation water established by the U. S. Public Health Service.

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