An integrated approach for assessing influence of agricultural activities on pesticides in a shallow aquifer in south-eastern Norway.Sci Total Environ. 2014 Nov 15; 499:520-32.ST
The study examines the influence of agricultural activities on pesticides in groundwater in an area with fluvial deposits of sand with a top layer of sandy silt and silt, intensive cultivation of potatoes and cereals, and drinking water supplies of households from local groundwater wells. Information about local agricultural practice and washing sites for pesticide spraying equipment, properties of soils and deeper deposits, hydrogeology and groundwater flow, simulations of pesticide leaching, and contents of pesticides and nitrate in groundwater samples from drinking water wells was used to explore extension and reasons of pesticide contamination of groundwater. Pesticides were found in a majority of the sampled wells. Eight different pesticides and metabolites were detected in groundwater samples. The results demonstrate that on fluvial deposits diffuse pollution from spraying of fields with pesticides can result in groundwater contamination in Nordic climate. Higher concentrations of pesticides in some wells can be explained by point source contamination from washing sites. The occurrence of pesticides in drinking water wells touches up the question whether pesticides should be given general approvals, or approvals should include restrictions or recommendations regarding use on areas with high risk of groundwater contamination. Combination of washing sites for pesticide spraying equipment and groundwater wells for drinking water requires attention, proper equipment and practice, and knowledge about pesticides, soil and water to avoid contamination. Samples from wells adjacent to washing sites for pesticide equipment might overestimate average pesticide concentrations in groundwater bodies. In Nordic areas attention should be given to pesticide pollution of shallow groundwater in fluvial deposits. To provide basis for interpretation of results and planning of mitigation measures against pesticide contamination, an integrated approach using information about agronomical practice and point sources, soil properties, hydrogeology and simulations of pesticide leaching is recommended for future surveys and monitoring of pesticides in groundwater.