AbstractsBiology & Animal Science

A catchment approach to managing agricultural pesticides in the environment : a case study with the herbicide atrazine

by Vladislav H. Popov

Institution: University of Western Sydney
Degree: PhD
Year: 0
Keywords: atrazine; herbicides; environmental aspects; agricultural waste; groundwater pollution; water quality management; Australia
Record ID: 1034779
Full text PDF: http://handle.uws.edu.au:8081/1959.7/22967


Surface water quality of the Liverpool Plains (NSW), a series of floodplains comprising the floodplain of the Mooki River, is poor despite the introduction of conservation tillage that has reduced soil erosion and, with it, the transport of sediment, nutrients and chemicals to streams.The aim of this thesis was to provide a basis for recommending the possible wider use of biofilters, by determining their effectiveness in reducing pollutant (mainly atrazine) transport at multiple scales in the Liverpool Plains, quantifying the importance of relevant processes, including the capacity of soil biofilters to degrade the retained pollutants, and evaluating the effect of pollutants on the biofilter vegetation. These objectives were explored in two sub-catchments within the Liverpool Plains, namely Big Jacks Creek and the Blackville.Soils are predominantly vertosols that crack deeply on drying, resulting in initially high infiltration rates on wetting and high water holding capacity. Field monitoring revealed that biofilters such as grassed waterways, natural grasslands or vegetated filter strips (VFS) positioned at multiple catchment scales can significantly reduce pollutant concentrations in runoff. The use of biofilters is discussed, along with other best management practices that will be needed to manage pesticide loads both at source and in the transport pathway. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)