Title page for ETD etd-050799-123132


Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Stall, Karen Marie
Author's Email Address karen_johnston@homedepot.com
URN etd-050799-123132
Title Evaluation of Sedimentation Control as a Best Management Practice for Removing Copper-based Crop Protectants in Plasticulture Runoff
Degree Master of Science
Department Environmental Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Dietrich, Andrea M. Committee Co-Chair
Gallagher, Daniel L. Committee Co-Chair
Dillaha, Theo A. III Committee Member
Keywords
  • sedimentation
  • plasticulture
  • copper
  • crop protectant
  • best management practice
Date of Defense 1999-04-22
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
Evaluation of Sedimentation Control as a Best Management Practice for

Removing Copper-based Crop Protectants in Plasticulture Runoff

Karen Marie Stall

(ABSTRACT)

The fate and distribution of copper-based crop protectants, applied to tomato fields to

protect against disease, were investigated in a greenhouse-scale simulation of farming

conditions in a coastal environment. Following rainfall, 99% of the applied copper was

found to remain on the fields sorbed to the soil and plants; most of the soil-bound copper

was found sorbed to the top 2.5 centimeters of soil. Of the copper leaving the agricultural

fields, 82% was found in the runoff with the majority, 74%, sorbed to the suspended

solids. The remaining copper, 18%, leached through the soil and entered the groundwater

with 10% in the dissolved phase and 8% sorbed to suspended solids. Although only one-percent

of the copper was found to leave the field, this was sufficient to cause high

copper concentrations (average 2102 ± 433 mg/L total copper and 189 ± 139 mg/L

dissolved copper) in the runoff. Copper concentrations in groundwater samples were also

high (average 312 ± 198 mg/L total copper and 216 ± 99 mg/L dissolved copper).

Sedimentation, a best management practice for reducing copper loadings, was found to

reduce the total copper concentrations in runoff by 90% to a concentration of 245 ± 127

mg/L; however, dissolved copper concentrations remained stable, averaging 139 ± 55

mg/L. Total copper concentrations were significantly reduced by the effective removal of

suspended solids with sorbed copper.

This research was supported by a grant from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and

Consumer Services. Funding was also provided by Sea Grant.

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