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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Investigating the Environmental Chemistry Fate and Transport of Agrochemicals and Other Pollutants


2009 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
Determine the dominant chemical and physical processes controlling the fate of agriculturally relevant chemicals in the environment using measurements of fundamental chemical properties, field collection to measure ambient pollutant levels, and improvement of existing environmental fate models as a means to develop new management practices.

1b. Approach (from AD-416)
This project will build on existing cooperative research projects with the University of Maryland Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Through our combined efforts, we will build and carry out research on three major projects. The first will involve studies of manure byproducts, their mitigation and fate, focusing initially on veterinary wastes, including anti-microbials; the second will be to determine the movement and impact of atmospherically transported chemicals and odoriferous compounds on the environment and the third will be to investigate the environmental fate of other personal care products that occur in urban and agricultural products. This work will include laboratory studies of fundamental chemical and physical properties, controlled laboratory studies to measure degradation rates and partition coefficients under environmentally relevant conditions, small-scale and large-scale field measurements of ambient pollutant concentrations, and utilization of these data in predictive modeling efforts and development of predictive models.

3. Progress Report
Exploring the effectiveness of mitigation strategies for pollutants requires rigorous, multi-component analytical tools that are not affected by matrix interferences. Studies to develop measurement techniques for hormonally active materials and antibiotics in poultry litter, lime-treated biosolids, and environmental samples have been successful, although some minor adjustments are required for certain environmental matrices. Several investigations are underway to discern the fate of pollutants on agricultural lands and to determine the effects of these materials on air and water quality. 1) Biosolids from waste water treatment facilities frequently contain the flame retardants, polybrominated biphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and the antimicrobials, triclosan and triclocarban. These biosolids are applied to agricultural lands as a disposal method and provide soil conditioning. Studies have been initiated to discern the fate of these compounds after biosolids application; 2) Land application of poultry litter to crop lands is a typical disposal method for many poultry producers. The fate of nutrients and antibiotics is being examined in a highly-agricultural subwatershed in the Chesapeake Bay. Results will be related to storm flow, soil type, and land characteristics; and 3) The effectiveness of Ag-Bag composting to remove the bactericides, triclocarban and triclosan, is being examined. Each of these studies will assist regulators by providing information on exposure likelihoods and loss scenarios for these compounds. ADODR monitored project progress via regular meetings, email, and phone conversations.

4. Accomplishments

Last Modified: 2/23/2016
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