Discriminating between point and non-point sources of atrazine contamination of a sandy aquifer

B. Leterme, M. Vanclooster, M. D. A. Rounsevell, P. Bogaert

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Abstract / Description of output

This study analyses the sources of atrazine contamination in the Brusselian sandy aquifer of central Belgium. Atrazine has in the past been used for both agricultural and non-agricultural applications, but it is difficult to distinguish the contamination originating from these two sources. The spatial and temporal covariance of atrazine concentrations was studied by fitting semi-variogram models to monitoring data. Correlation ranges were found to be 600 m and 600–700 days, respectively. The results were used to apply a declustering algorithm before examining the distribution of atrazine concentrations measured in groundwater. Monitoring data appeared to follow a pseudo-lognormal distribution, as a lognormality test was negative. An inflexion point on the cumulative density function was thought to indicate the two different pollution processes, i.e., agricultural and non-agricultural contamination sources. A non-parametric one-way analysis of variance suggested that the vast majority of atrazine in groundwater was from non-agricultural, point sources. This was supported by the strong relationship between mean concentrations and land use, whilst other environmental variables, such as soil organic matter or groundwater depth, produced less meaningful results.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-142
Number of pages19
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2006


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