The risk of pesticide leaching from recreational areas such as golf course turfs is not distinguished in a regulative framework within the EU where the focus is on agricultural soils. But with increasing popularity of golf, and thus, increasing number of golf courses leading to potentially increasing use of pesticides, understanding the processes determining pesticide leaching are critical to ensure optimal quality of both groundwater and golf turf. This study input the measured variation in fate properties of tebuconazole (TBZ) and MCPA as pure active ingredients and commercial products in simulations with realistic hydrological conceptualizations to investigate their implication in leaching assessments. Scenarios with (i) fluctuating and fixed groundwater levels and (ii) preferential flows including fluctuating and fixed groundwater levels were evaluated. The results showed that mobile MCPA leached in higher concentrations by a factor of 1.3 with fluctuating groundwater levels than with fixed groundwater levels. When preferential flow paths were incorporated in the models, the leaching was substantial for MCPA regardless of its formulation as active ingredient or commercial product, while in multiple simulations without preferential pathways there was no leaching of MCPA. Compared to MCPA leaching without preferential flow paths, the leaching concentrations increased up to a factor of 13.9 when preferential flows were included. With preferential flow paths, the increase in leaching concentration from fixed groundwater levels to fluctuating groundwater levels was up to a factor of 2.3 depending on the formulation of MCPA. This study demonstrated that it is imperative to assess fate parameters in the topsoil of golf courses and consider realistic groundwater BC (boundary condition) and the presence of preferential flow paths to obtain representative pesticide leaching risk assessments.
Keywords: Golf greens/fairways; Loamy settings; Preferential flow; Solute transport; Sorption.
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