Pesticide contamination in groundwater bodies in the Júcar River European Union Pilot Basin (SE Spain).Environ Monit Assess. 2017 Apr; 189(4):146.EM
The change from a traditional agricultural model to a modern, more productive one, coupled with population growth, has entailed an increased consumption of water, fertilizers and pesticides. This transformation has led to a greater risk of groundwater contamination. This study has analysed for this purpose a total of 314 samples (period 2010-2013). In addition, 332 samples from the Mancha Oriental groundwater body (period 2001-2003) were also examined in order to gain a better perspective on the temporal evolution of pesticides in groundwater bodies. Using this database, this study aims to characterize pesticide pollution and to examine possible processes. Triazine herbicides are the most common pesticides found and also appear in the highest concentrations, with terbuthylazine having a noteworthy concentration of 900 ng/L. The irrigated agriculture and the physicochemical properties of pesticides are the most important factors influencing the concentration and type of pesticides that can reach groundwater. The spatial distribution of nitrate and pesticides do not correspond as they would if the two behaved similarly. Pesticides can completely biodegrade before reaching the saturated zone, but it is also possible that their degradation products have not been analysed and, therefore, their concentrations are underestimated.