Field assessment of coconut-based activated carbon systems for the treatment of herbicide contamination

McGinley, John
Healy, Mark G.
Scannell, Shane
Ryan, Paraic C.
Harmon O'Driscoll, Jenny
Mellander, Per-Erik
Morrison, Liam
Siggins, Alma
McGinley, John, Healy, Mark G., Scannell, Shane, Ryan, Paraic C., Harmon O'Driscoll, Jenny, Mellander, Per-Erik, Morrison, Liam, Siggins, Alma. (2024). Field assessment of coconut-based activated carbon systems for the treatment of herbicide contamination. Chemosphere, 349, 140823. doi:
Once released into the environment, herbicides can move through soil or surface water to streams and groundwater. Filters containing adsorbent media placed in fields may be an effective solution to herbicide loss in the environment. However, to date, no study has investigated the use of adsorbent materials in intervention systems at field-scale, nor has any study investigated their optimal configuration. Therefore, the aim of this paper was to examine the efficacy of low-cost, coconut-based activated carbon (CAC) intervention systems, placed in streams and tributaries, for herbicide removal. Two configurations of interventions were investigated in two agricultural catchments and one urban area in Ireland: (1) filter bags and (2) filter bags fitted into polyethylene pipes. Herbicide sampling was conducted using Chemcatcher® passive sampling devices in order to identify trends in herbicide exceedances at the sites, and to quantifiably assess, compare, and contrast the efficiency of the two intervention configurations. While the Chemcatcher® passive sampling devices are capable of analysing eighteen different acid herbicides, only six different acid herbicides (2,4-D, clopyralid, fluroxypyr, MCPA, mecoprop and triclopyr) were ever detected within the three catchment areas, which were also the only acid herbicides used therein. The CAC was capable of complete herbicide removal, when the water flow was slow (0.5 ¿ 1 m3.s-1), and the interventions spanned the width and depth of the waterway. Overall, the reduction in herbicide concentrations was better for the filter pipes than for the filter bags, with a 48% reduction in detections and a 37% reduction in exceedances across all the sampling sites for the filter pipe interventions compared to a 13% reduction in the number of detections and a 24% reduction in exceedances across all sampling sites for the filter bag interventions (p
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Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)