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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 25 No. 1, p. 25-45
    Received: May 4, 1995

    * Corresponding author(s): markus@dustside.ucr.edu
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Experimental Evidence of Transport of Pesticides through Field Soils—A Review

  1. Markus Flury *
  1. Department of Soil and Environmental Sciences, Univ. of California at Riverside, Riverside, CA 92521.



Much information is available in the literature about pesticide transport through soils at the field scale. The purpose of this study is to review the literature with a focus on pesticide leaching to groundwater. The literature was compiled and discussed with respect to different factors that influence pesticide leaching. Pesticide leaching below the root zone has been demonstrated in sandy as well as in loamy soils. Particularly in loamy soils, there is evidence that even strongly adsorbing chemicals can move along preferential flow pathways and that the travel times of pesticides are comparable to those of conservative solutes. The amounts of pesticides leached below the root zone by worst case rainfall events depend on the chemical properties and can reach up to 5% of the applied mass. When there is no heavy rainfall shortly following application of chemicals, the mass annually leached below the root zone is in the range of <0.1 to 1%, occasionally it can reach up to 4%. Although a direct comparison cannot be made, the mass lost by leaching seems generally to be smaller than that lost by runoff, depending of course on the slope of the fields. Several factors that affect pesticide leaching, such as surface preparation, soil structure, soil water content, type of irrigation, pesticide formulation, time of application and rainfall events, are discussed with support of experimental evidence. While some factors showed inconsistent effects, others show promise in controlling leaching mechanisms. These latter factors include initial water content, surface preparation, and time of pesticide application. Based on the reviewed literature, recommendations were made for future research activities.

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