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Modeling Parent and Metabolite Fate and Transport in Subsurface Drained Fields With Directly Connected Macropores

Fox, G.A., Sabbagh, G.J., Malone, R.W., Rojas, K.
Journal of the American Water Resources Association 2007 v.43 no.6 pp. 1359
subsurface drainage, metabolites, soil transport processes, porous media, field experimentation, water quality, hydrologic models, simulation models, water pollution, rhizosphere, isoxaflutole, herbicide residues, degradation, calibration, pesticide application, prediction, agricultural runoff, vadose zone, preferential flow, environmental fate, soil hydraulic properties, edge effects, Indiana
Few studies exist that evaluate or apply pesticide transport models based on measured parent and metabolite concentrations in fields with subsurface drainage. Furthermore, recent research suggests pesticide transport through exceedingly efficient direct connections, which occur when macropores are hydrologically connected to subsurface drains, but this connectivity has been simulated at only one field site in Allen County, Indiana. This research evaluates the Root Zone Water Quality Model (RZWQM) in simulating the transport of a parent compound and its metabolite at two subsurface drained field sites. Previous research used one of the field sites to test the original modification of the RZWQM to simulate directly connected macropores for bromide and the parent compound, but not for the metabolite. This research will evaluate RZWQM for parent/metabolite transformation and transport at this first field site, along with evaluating the model at an additional field site to evaluate whether the parameters for direct connectivity are transferable and whether model performance is consistent for the two field sites with unique soil, hydrologic, and environmental conditions. Isoxaflutole, the active ingredient in BALANCE herbicide, was applied to both fields. Isoxaflutole rapidly degrades into a metabolite (RPA 202248). This research used calibrated RZWQM models for each field based on observed subsurface drain flow and/or edge of field conservative tracer concentrations in subsurface flow. The calibrated models for both field sites required a portion (approximately 2% but this fraction may require calibration) of the available water and chemical in macropore flow to be routed directly into the subsurface drains to simulate peak concentrations in edge of field subsurface drain flow shortly after chemical applications. Confirming the results from the first field site, the existing modification for directly connected macropores continually failed to predict pesticide concentrations on the recession limbs of drainage hydrographs, suggesting that the current strategy only partially accounts for direct connectivity. Thirty-year distributions of annual mass (drainage) loss of parent and metabolite in terms of percent of isoxaflutole applied suggested annual simulated percent losses of parent and metabolite (3.04 and 1.31%) no greater in drainage than losses in runoff on nondrained fields as reported in the literature.