The Science of the total environment

Mitigating agrichemicals from an artificial runoff event using a managed riverine wetland.

PMID 22560749


We examined the mitigation efficiency of a managed riverine wetland amended with a mixture of suspended sediment, two nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus), and three pesticides (atrazine, metolachlor, and permethrin) during a simulated agricultural runoff event. Hydrologic management of the 500 m-long, 25 m-wide riverine wetland was done by adding weirs at both ends. The agrichemical mixture was amended to the wetland at the upstream weir simulating a four-hour, ~1cm rainfall event from a 16ha agricultural field. Water samples (1L) were collected every 30 min within the first 4h, then every 4h until 48 h, and again on days 5, 7, 14, 21, and 28 post-amendment at distances of 0m, 10 m, 40 m, 300 m and 500 m from the amendment point within the wetland for suspended solids, nutrient, and pesticide analyses. Peak sediment, nutrient, and pesticide concentrations occurred within 3 h of amendment at 0m, 10 m, 40 m, and 300 m downstream and showed rapid attenuation of agrichemicals from the water column with 79-98%, 42-98%, and 63-98% decrease in concentrations of sediments, nutrients, and pesticides, respectively, within 48 h. By day 28, all amendments were near or below pre-amendment concentrations. Water samples at 500 m showed no changes in sediment or nutrient concentrations; pesticide concentrations peaked within 48 h but at ≤11% of upstream peak concentrations and had dissipated by day 28. Managed riverine wetlands≥1 ha and with hydraulic residence times of days to weeks can efficiently trap agricultural runoff during moderate (1cm) late-spring and early-summer rainfall events, mitigating impacts to receiving rivers.