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The Attenuation of Atrazine and Its Major Degradation Products in a Restored Riparian Buffer

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Watershed ManWatershed Management to Meet Water Quality Standards and TMDLS (Total Maximum Daily Load) Proceedings of the 10-14 March 2007, San Antonio, Texas  701P0207.(doi:10.13031/2013.22431)
Authors:   Paige A Gay, George Vellidis, Joseph J Delfino
Keywords:   Atrazine, deethylatrazine, deisopropylatrazine, hydroxyatrazine, riparian buffer system

The fate and transport of atrazine and its major degradation products were studied in a restored riparian buffer system to examine the effectiveness of the system in attenuating the chemicals. Atrazine was applied to a strip upslope from the buffer system. Atrazine, deethylatrazine, deisopropylatrazine, and hydroxyatrazine were monitored in groundwater, soil, and surface runoff water for 11 months following application. Atrazine removal from groundwater was very effective, with 3810 mg entering the upslope position being reduced to 174 mg exiting the stream side landscape position. Deethylatrazine was the predominant degradation product in ground water and runoff water and the buffer system was successful in reducing concentrations of deethylatrazine during the entire period after application. Hydroxyatrazine was predominant in conjunction with runoff sediments. Removal efficiency of mass loads in all matrices ranged from 67% to 100%. While the mass load of atrazine associated with sediments was only 8% of that measured for the water phase, the mass loads of deethylatrazine and deisopropylatrazine (~ 40%) and particularly hydroxyatrazine (75%) in sediments were proportionally much higher. About 98.6% of atrazine transport in runoff water occurred as a result of an extended rainfall event immediately following application, compared to 45% for deethylatrazine and deisopropylatrazine and only 16% for hydroxyatrazine. Adsorption of analytes to subsurface soils was minimal. The results of this work indicate riparian buffer systems can be successfully used as a Best Management Practice to intercept atrazine and the studied degradation products. Riparian buffers can provide year round attenuation, particularly for deethylatrazine.

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