Widespread groundwater contamination has prompted studies on the fate and transport of solute through soil. Large quantities of atrazine and metribuzin are applied annually in the Humid Pampas of Argentina, creating the need to study the fate of these herbicides in soils of the region. The objective of this work was to study the vertical transport of atrazine and metribuzin in packed soil columns for three loam soils representative of the Humid Pampas of Argentina. Bromide was used as a nonreactive tracer. The convection dispersion equation was fitted to chemical breakthrough data to obtain a parameter characterizing chemical transport. Bromide breakthrough curves (BTCs) were similar among soils. BTCs for atrazine and metribuzin revealed significant interaction among soils and herbicides. The average values for the organic carbon (OC) partition coefficients (Koc) derived from column flow experiments were 119 and 48 ml/g for atrazine and metribuzin, respectively. Metribuzin in leachate was 97.3% of the total recovered, whereas atrazine was 3.5%. This behavior can be explained by their different affinities to OC. The OC contents of the Balcarce, Necochea, and Nueve de Julio soils were 4.1, 3.4, and 1.9%, respectively. The lowest leaching values of herbicides were found in the Balcarce soil, suggesting that OC content was the main factor in controlling herbicide transport in these soils.
Nomenclature: Atrazine; bromide; metribuzin.
Additional index words: GC/MS, groundwater contamination, herbicide transport, soil columns.
Abbreviations: BTC, breakthrough curve; CDE, convection dispersion equation; OC, organic carbon; PV, pore volume; PVC, polyvinyl chloride.