In intensely cultivated regions, it is crucial to have knowledge of the leaching potential related to pesticides in agricultural production. This is especially true in countries, like Denmark, that base its drinking water supply on untreated groundwater. Since fluazifop-P-butyl (FPB) is applied to control perennial and annual weed grasses in agricultural fields, the objective of this study was to evaluate leaching of its two degradation products – fluazifop-P (FP; free acid; (R)-2-(4-(5-trifluoromethyl-2-pyridyloxy)phenoxy)propionic acid) and TFMP (5-(trifluoromethyl)-2(1H)-pyridinone) – through an agricultural field consisting of loamy soil. Drainage and groundwater samples were collected over a five-year period following four spring/summer applications of FPB, and analysed for both FP and TFMP. FP was only detected once in groundwater, whereas TFMP within the first year after the first and fourth application was detected in concentrations exceeding the value of 0.1 μg L − 1 in 100% and 24% of the drainage samples and 9% and 14% of the groundwater samples, respectively. Detections of TFMP up to 18 months after application were obtained both in the drainage and groundwater. What differentiated the first and fourth FPB applications from the two others were heavy precipitation events within one week of FPB application, which resulted in rapid transport of TFMP through the discontinuities in the soil and contributed to relatively high TFMP detections in drainage and groundwater. This study indicated that pesticide degradates like TFMP, often being more soluble than the pesticide, have a relatively high leaching potential especially associated with heavy precipitation events shortly after the application. Hence, such pesticide degradates should like in Denmark be considered “relevant” meaning that the EU value for drinking water applies to them, having its leaching potential regulatory assessed based on high quality estimations of their persistence, and be exposed to an assessment of the risk to consumers of drinking contaminated groundwater.
- Preferential transport
- Programme Area 2: Water Resources