Evaluation of groundwater contamination sources by plant protection products in hilly vineyards of Northern Italy

Nicoleta Suciu, Antonio Gallo, Ettore Capri, Roberta Zambito Marsala, Elisabetta Russo, Marcello De Crema, Emanuela Peroncini, Fausto Tomei, Gabriele Antolini, Marco Marcaccio, Vittorio Marletto, Ruggero Colla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In Europe, 25% of groundwater has poor chemical status. One of the main stressors is agriculture, with nitrates and plant protection products (PPPs) causing failure in 18% and 6.5%, respectively, of groundwater bodies (by area). EU legislation for the placement of the PPPs on the market is one of the most stringent in the world. However, recent monitoring studies in hilly vineyards of Tidone Valley, north-west of Italy, show presence of PPPs used for grapevine cultivation in 15 out of 26 groundwater wells monitored, at values above the Environment Quality Standard (EQS) for groundwater (0.1 μg/L). However, no information about the contamination sources are available. Therefore, the objective of the present work is to evaluate the groundwater contamination sources by PPPs, in a small catchment with intensive viticulture, by collecting and integrating monitoring data, sub-surface water movement data and territorial characteristics. The results show that in wells used for PPP's mixture preparation and sprayer washing located at the top of hilly vineyards, with low slope and no water movement in the surrounding soil, the contamination is most likely from point sources. On the contrary, for wells located in a fenced area at the bottom of the hill, far away from vineyards and being used for drinking water production, the contamination is most likely from diffuse sources. Our results were used to raise awareness on groundwater contamination from PPPs among farmers in the study area; moreover a waterproof platform for sprayers washing, equipped with wastewater recovery and disposal system, able to avoid point-source contamination, was implemented in a local demonstration farm. Several demonstration activities were then organised with the farmers of the entire Valley in order to show its functionality and promote its diffuse use.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)N/A-N/A
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume749
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Best management practices
  • Groundwater monitoring
  • Pesticides
  • Stakeholder involvement
  • Tidone Valley
  • Vineyards

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