KWRRI Research Reports


Because pesticides are applied as formulated particles and the affinity of the active ingredient for the formulation is higher than for the bulk water, we hypothesized that a formulation complex could affect active ingredient transport. Our objectives were to investigate the nature and extent of surfactant-atrazine-clay/oxide surface interactions. When atrazine and an anionic surfactant were dried onto plain or Fe-coated sand and leached, atrazine concentrations in the initial leachate were lower in the Fe-coated sand treatment. This was likely due to an electrostatic attraction between the sand and surfactant. When a nonionic surfactant was used, atrazine concentration in the initial leachate was lower through plain sand. This suggests that the affinity of the nonionic surfactant for the Fe-surface is lower than for the silica surface. Using FTIR spectroscopy we have determined that a nonionic surfactant and atrazine will partition into the interlayer of montmorillonite. Atrazine in the interlayer has important implications for herbicide mass transport. The desorption of atrazine will be diffusion controlled and hence less atrazine should be available for transport. However, should these clays become dispersed, they could act as a suspended, highly mobile phase for the particulate transport of atrazine.

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The work on which this report is based was supported in part by the United States Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C. as authorized by the Water Resources Research Act of P.L. 101-397.

The activities on which this report is based were financed in part by the Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, through the Kentucky Water Resources Research Institute.