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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

Volatilization of EPTC: Simulation and Measurement


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 25 No. 1, p. 169-177
    Received: Nov 10, 1994

    * Corresponding author(s): jbaker@soils.umn.edu
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  1. J. M. Baker *,
  2. W. C. Koskinen and
  3. R. H. Dowdy
  1. USDA-ARS, St. Paul, MN, Dep. of Soil Science, Univ. of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN. 55108.



Many of the organic chemicals used in agricultural production are susceptible to loss from the soil surface to the atmosphere by volatilization. Adequate prediction of the impact of these chemicals on the environment thus requires consideration of both downward movement through the soil to groundwater and upward movement in the gas phase to the atmosphere. We developed a method to mechanistically simulate volatilization within the framework of a conventionally formulated solute transport model and used it to simulate the gas-phase losses of EPTC, a commonly used volatile herbicide. The model considers efflux of a trace gas at the soil surface to be a process of unsteady diffusion, interrupted intermittently by dispersive events that can be thought of as eddies at the innermost scale. Model results were compared to measurements of volatilization during the first 7 d following application of EPTC, conducted with a Bowen ratio system in a 17-ha field at Rosemount, MN. The measurements indicated a relatively large initial flux (ca. 150 g ha−1 h−1) that rapidly decreased to negligible levels within a day following application. The model agreed reasonably well on the first day, if a measured value for Henry's constant was used rather than a value estimated from the saturation vapor pressure and the solubility. However, on subsequent days the model considerably overestimated volatilization, regardless of the Henry's constant that was used. It is likely that hysteresis in sorption/desorption, particularly as surface soil dries following herbicide incorporation, may be the primary reason why volatile losses are lower than might be predicted on the basis of equilibrium partitioning theory.

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