RETRACTED ARTICLE: Development of a screening tool to assess the temporal risk of pesticides leaching to groundwater using the source, target, vector approach. An Irish case study for shallow groundwater
During this study, a groundwater screening tool was developed to assess the temporal risk of groundwater contamination from the use of pesticides. It is based on a source, vector, target approach. The method utilised in this study uses a semi-quantitative probabilistic risk assessment where the input parameters were classified and assigned a relative score from 1 to 5 (i.e. 1 = no risk and 5 = high risk). The model was parameterised by using national data and calibrated with 2 years of national pesticide groundwater monitoring data. After calibration, two specific sites were selected for model validation. Based on the presence of the source, vector and target, the evaluation indicated that the temporal risk is site specific (i.e. May to December for the country model, June to September for the Oak Park site and September for the Castledockrell site). A sensitivity analysis performed on the national scale revealed that the groundwater vulnerability category (gv), the clay content (cc%), the persistence of pesticides in soil (DT50) and the rainfall represented by wet day (wd) were the most important parameters that affected model predictions (correlation coefficients of 0.54, −0.39, 0.35 and 0.31, respectively), highlighting the importance of soil hydrogeological conditions, soil type and rainfall in influencing water model predictions. The model developed can help to identify the temporal risk from pesticides to groundwater and guide regulators in highlighting at-risk periods, therefore allowing more focused monitoring programmes.
KeywordsScreening tool Score Pesticide Monte Carlo Groundwater contamination Risk assessment
Soil air content
Score for texture
- CF1, CF2 and CF3
Weighting factor for the source, vector and target, respectively
Commission of the European Communities
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Depth to groundwater
Pesticide half-life in soil
Environmental Protection Agency
Soil field capacity
Score for groundwater vulnerability category
Groundwater ubiquity score
Thickness of water table
Henry’s law constant
Soil sorption coefficient
Lowest observed adverse effect level
Pesticide application month
No observed adverse effect level
No observed effect concentration
No observed effect level
Pesticide Control Service
Predicted Environmental Concentration
Plant Protection Products
Risk ratio value
Overall month risk score
Score for source
Soil organic carbon content of soil
Score for target
Number of days following the application month
Toxicity exposure ratio
Score for temperature
Score for wet day
Score for vector
World Health Organization
The authors would like to thank the Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) under the Research Stimulus Fund. The authors are also grateful to Mannix A from the EPA and McManus SL from Trinity College who provided monitoring data at national and site scales, respectively.
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