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Water Filteration Systems and Pest Control

Pesticides and Water Pollution

ESTICIDES AND WATER POLLUTION FACT SHEET

The term “pesticide” is a composite term that includes all chemicals that are used to kill or control pests. Pesticides are used to protect crops against insects, weeds, fungi, and other pests. They also play a significant role in food production. They protect or increase yields, and the number of times per year a crop can be grown on the same land. In agriculture, this includes herbicides (weeds), insecticides (insects), fungicides (fungi), nematocides (nematodes), and rodenticides (vertebrate poisons). 

PESTICIDE FACTS

  • Pesticides are potentially toxic to humans and can have both acute and chronic health effects, depending on the quantity and the ways in which a person is exposed.
  • Some of the older, cheaper pesticides can remain in the soil and water for years. They have been banned in developed countries for agricultural use but are still used in many developing countries.
  • There are more than 1,000 pesticides used around the world to ensure food is not damaged or destroyed by pests. Each pesticide has different properties and toxicological effects (and the toxicological effects of multiple pesticides can be greater than the sum of their parts).

FACTORS AFFECTING PESTICIDE POLLUTION OF WATER

Drainage: Farmland is often well drained and natural drainage is often enhanced by land drains. Water from excessive rainfall and irrigation cannot always be held within the soil structure. Therefore, pesticides and residues (also nitrates and phosphates) can be quickly transported to contaminate ground water and freshwater supplies over a large geographical area.

The pesticide: Individual pesticides have unique properties, and many variable factors (including those below) determine the specific risk in terms of water pollution.

  • active ingredient(s) in the pesticide formulation
  • contaminants that exist as impurities in the active ingredient(s)
  • additives that are mixed with the active ingredient(s) (wetting agents, diluents or solvents, extenders, adhesives, buffers, preservatives, and emulsifiers)
  • degradate that is formed during chemical, microbial, or photochemical degradation of the active ingredient
  • Pesticide half-life: The more stable the pesticide, the longer it takes to break down. This can be measured in terms of its half-life, the longer it takes to break down, the higher its persistence. The half-life is unique to individual products but variable depending on specific environmental and application factors.

An active substance is any chemical, plant extract, pheromone, or microorganism (including viruses), that has action against ‘pests’ or on plants, or parts of plants or plant products.

Mobility in soil: All pesticides have unique mobility properties, both vertically and horizontally through the soil structure. Residual herbicides applied directly to the soil are designed to bond to the soil structure.

Solubility in water: Many pesticides are soluble in water out of necessity so that they can be applied with water and be absorbed by the target. The higher the solubility of the pesticide, the higher the risk of leaching. Residual herbicides are generally of lower solubility to aid soil binding but their persistency in the soil can cause other problems.

Microbial activity: Pesticides in the soil are primarily broken down by microbial activity. The greater the microbial activity, the faster the degradation. Loss of pesticide residues can also occur by evaporation and photodecomposition.

Soil temperature: Soil microbial activity and pesticide breakdown is largely linked to soil temperature.

Application rate: The more pesticide that is applied, the longer significant concentrations remain.

Irrigation Management: Irrigation increases the chance that pesticides will migrate to ground water and surface water. Irrigating saturated soils or irrigating at a rate that exceeds the infiltration rate of soil promotes runoff that can carry pesticides with it. Irrigation that promotes the frequent downward movement of water beyond the root zone of plants also promotes the leaching of substances including pesticides to ground water. This is of particular concern in areas where frequent irrigation is necessary because of coarse-textured soils. Proper irrigation management is critical to minimize the risk of pesticides infiltrating ground water.

Another factor affecting pesticide pollution of water is rainfall, as high levels of rainfall increase the risk of pesticides contaminating water. Movement into bodies of water occurs when runoff, after rainfall, moves through areas that have been sprayed with pesticides. It can also occur within the soil structure by displacement of pesticides from absorption sites near water and through treated soil that has moved into the water through soil erosion.

GROUND WATER

The Cornell University Cooperative Extension states “cleanup of groundwater contaminated by pesticides is usually impossible. The slow movement of groundwater means that it may take decades for the contaminated water to flow beyond the affected wells. Determining which wells will be affected and for how long is a difficult problem.”

They also observed the problem with private wells and state that “most family farms rely on their own wells and private wells are rarely tested or treated and in many instances are located close to fields on which pesticides have been applied. While not all wells can become contaminated, it is important to know why some become contaminated (leached) and why others do not.”

The Cornell University states:

Leaching of pesticides depends in part on the amount applied per acre per year; where, when and how it is applied; the solubility of the compound: how strongly it is held by the soil; and how quickly it breaks down in the root zone. After a pesticide is applied to a field, it meets a variety of fates. Some may be lost to the atmosphere through volatilization, carried away to surface waters by runoff, or broken down in the sunlight by photolysis. Pesticides in soil may be taken up by plants, degraded into other chemical forms, or leached downward, possibly to groundwater. The remainder is retained in the soil and continues to be available for plant uptake, degradation or leaching.

How much pesticide meets each of these fates depends on many factors including:

  • the properties of the pesticide
  • the properties of the soil
  • the site conditions including climate
  • management practices

Many pesticides bind strongly to soil and are, therefore, immobile. For those that are mobile in soil, their leaching to ground water can be thought of as a race in time between their degradation into nontoxic by-products and their transport to ground water. If the pesticide is not readily degraded and moved freely with water percolating downward through the soil, the likelihood of it reaching ground water is relatively high. If, however, the pesticide degrades quickly or is tightly bound to soil particles, then it is more likely to be retained in the upper soil layers until it is degraded to nontoxic by-products.

In the U.S., about 10% of the country’s population (approximately 13 million people) rely on water from private wells but the private wells are not regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). The SDWA does not provide recommended criteria or standards for individual wells, but it does provide information about technologies that may be used to treat or remove any contaminants. It also educates well owners on ground water and provides them with information that is useful to them in protecting their health.

THE EFFECTS OF PESTICIDES

The health effects of pesticides depend on the type of pesticide. Some, such as the organophosphates and carbamates, affect the nervous …

Pesticides and Water Pollution

PESTICIDES AND WATER POLLUTION FACT SHEET

The term “pesticide” is a composite term that includes all chemicals that are used to kill or control pests. Pesticides are used to protect crops against insects, weeds, fungi, and other pests. They also play a significant role in food production. They protect or increase yields, and the number of times per year a crop can be grown on the same land. In agriculture, this includes herbicides (weeds), insecticides (insects), fungicides (fungi), nematocides (nematodes), and rodenticides (vertebrate poisons). 

PESTICIDE FACTS

  • Pesticides are potentially toxic to humans and can have both acute and chronic health effects, depending on the quantity and the ways in which a person is exposed.
  • Some of the older, cheaper pesticides can remain in the soil and water for years. They have been banned in developed countries for agricultural use but are still used in many developing countries.
  • There are more than 1,000 pesticides used around the world to ensure food is not damaged or destroyed by pests. Each pesticide has different properties and toxicological effects (and the toxicological effects of multiple pesticides can be greater than the sum of their parts).
Source:  https://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/health/case_studies/pesticides.html
Source: https://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/health/case_studies/pesticides.html

FACTORS AFFECTING PESTICIDE POLLUTION OF WATER

Drainage: Farmland is often well drained and natural drainage is often enhanced by land drains. Water from excessive rainfall and irrigation cannot always be held within the soil structure. Therefore, pesticides and residues (also nitrates and phosphates) can be quickly transported to contaminate ground water and freshwater supplies over a large geographical area.

The pesticide: Individual pesticides have unique properties, and many variable factors (including those below) determine the specific risk in terms of water pollution.

  • active ingredient(s) in the pesticide formulation
  • contaminants that exist as impurities in the active ingredient(s)
  • additives that are mixed with the active ingredient(s) (wetting agents, diluents or solvents, extenders, adhesives, buffers, preservatives, and emulsifiers)
  • degradate that is formed during chemical, microbial, or photochemical degradation of the active ingredient
  • Pesticide half-life: The more stable the pesticide, the longer it takes to break down. This can be measured in terms of its half-life, the longer it takes to break down, the higher its persistence. The half-life is unique to individual products but variable depending on specific environmental and application factors.

An active substance is any chemical, plant extract, pheromone, or microorganism (including viruses), that has action against ‘pests’ or on plants, or parts of plants or plant products.

Mobility in soil: All pesticides have unique mobility properties, both vertically and horizontally through the soil structure. Residual herbicides applied directly to the soil are designed to bond to the soil structure.

Solubility in water: Many pesticides are soluble in water out of necessity so that they can be applied with water and be absorbed by the target. The higher the solubility of the pesticide, the higher the risk of leaching. Residual herbicides are generally of lower solubility to aid soil binding but their persistency in the soil can cause other problems.

Microbial activity: Pesticides in the soil are primarily broken down by microbial activity. The greater the microbial activity, the faster the degradation. Loss of pesticide residues can also occur by evaporation and photodecomposition.

Soil temperature: Soil microbial activity and pesticide breakdown is largely linked to soil temperature.

Application rate: The more pesticide that is applied, the longer significant concentrations remain.

Irrigation Management: Irrigation increases the chance that pesticides will migrate to ground water and surface water. Irrigating saturated soils or irrigating at a rate that exceeds the infiltration rate of soil promotes runoff that can carry pesticides with it. Irrigation that promotes the frequent downward movement of water beyond the root zone of plants also promotes the leaching of substances including pesticides to ground water. This is of particular concern in areas where frequent irrigation is necessary because of coarse-textured soils. Proper irrigation management is critical to minimize the risk of pesticides infiltrating ground water.

Source:  https://water.usgs.gov/edu/pesticidesgw.html
Source: https://water.usgs.gov/edu/pesticidesgw.html

Another factor affecting pesticide pollution of water is rainfall, as high levels of rainfall increase the risk of pesticides contaminating water. Movement into bodies of water occurs when runoff, after rainfall, moves through areas that have been sprayed with pesticides. It can also occur within the soil structure by displacement of pesticides from absorption sites near water and through treated soil that has moved into the water through soil erosion.

GROUND WATER

The Cornell University Cooperative Extension states “cleanup of groundwater contaminated by pesticides is usually impossible. The slow movement of groundwater means that it may take decades for the contaminated water to flow beyond the affected wells. Determining which wells will be affected and for how long is a difficult problem.”

They also observed the problem with private wells and state that “most family farms rely on their own wells and private wells are rarely tested or treated and in many instances are located close to fields on which pesticides have been applied. While not all wells can become contaminated, it is important to know why some become contaminated (leached) and why others do not.”

The Cornell University states:

Leaching of pesticides depends in part on the amount applied per acre per year; where, when and how it is applied; the solubility of the compound: how strongly it is held by the soil; and how quickly it breaks down in the root zone. After a pesticide is applied to a field, it meets a variety of fates. Some may be lost to the atmosphere through volatilization, carried away to surface waters by runoff, or broken down in the sunlight by photolysis. Pesticides in soil may be taken up by plants, degraded into other chemical forms, or leached downward, possibly to groundwater. The remainder is retained in the soil and continues to be available for plant uptake, degradation or leaching.

How much pesticide meets each of these fates depends on many factors including:

  • the properties of the pesticide
  • the properties of the soil
  • the site conditions including climate
  • management practices

Many pesticides bind strongly to soil and are, therefore, immobile. For those that are mobile in soil, their leaching to ground water can be thought of as a race in time between their degradation into nontoxic by-products and their transport to ground water. If the pesticide is not readily degraded and moved freely with water percolating downward through the soil, the likelihood of it reaching ground water is relatively high. If, however, the pesticide degrades quickly or is tightly bound to soil particles, then it is more likely to be retained in the upper soil layers until it is degraded to nontoxic by-products.

In the U.S., about 10% of the country’s population (approximately 13 million people) rely on water from private wells but the private wells are not regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). The SDWA does not provide recommended criteria or standards for individual wells, but it does provide information about technologies that may be used to treat or remove any contaminants. It also educates well owners on ground water and provides them with information that is useful to them in protecting their health.

THE EFFECTS OF PESTICIDES

The health effects of pesticides depend on the type of pesticide. Some, such as the organophosphates and …

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Suspendisse quis erat ipsum. Ut aliquet ultrices iaculis. Etiam malesuada fringilla magna, non sodales diam iaculis non. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Maecenas non orci ipsum. Quisque ac mauris est. Quisque porta mauris ligula, et egestas purus dignissim sed. Nunc accumsan non enim a imperdiet.…

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Vestibulum suscipit erat lorem, in interdum lectus lacinia ut. Nulla facilisi. Donec vehicula lacus a turpis tristique, elementum tempus tortor iaculis. Nulla consectetur erat est, nec sagittis dui suscipit non. Aenean non maximus dui. Maecenas ac finibus arcu. Fusce eleifend lectus mi, feugiat tincidunt mi pharetra in. Donec vitae ultricies neque, id pharetra nisi. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Pellentesque viverra nulla mi, sit amet congue urna mollis ac. Vestibulum tristique vehicula sem, sed dictum justo pharetra id. Vestibulum nec varius mi. Donec eget metus vitae diam molestie elementum ac eu massa. Aenean pretium viverra hendrerit. Nam metus magna, commodo vel lorem id, iaculis porttitor nisl. Orci varius natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus.

Suspendisse quis erat ipsum. Ut aliquet ultrices iaculis. Etiam malesuada fringilla magna, non sodales diam iaculis non. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Maecenas non orci ipsum. Quisque ac mauris est. Quisque porta mauris ligula, et egestas purus dignissim sed. Nunc accumsan non enim a imperdiet.…

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