Understand Fate and Transport Mechanisms

Understanding the potential for fate and transport of potential contaminants will help superintendents to minimize the risk of off-site movement of nutrients and chemical pesticides applied to golf courses. Research indicates that using BMPs minimizes the chances for movement of potential water quality contaminants into ground or surface water. When BMPs are not properly implemented, however, water quality is at greater risk. These risks are primarily the result of runoff and leaching:

  • Runoff is the movement of water across the turf and soil surface, typically following a storm event or heavy irrigation.
  • Leaching is the downward movement of water through the soil and potentially into groundwater.

Additional fate and transport mechanisms for nutrients and pesticides include drift and spills. Drift occurs when pesticides become airborne as dry particles, liquid spray droplets, or vapor. Spills are the unintended releases of chemicals, such as fertilizers, pesticides, hazardous materials, or petroleum products released during transportation, storage, and routine maintenance and facility operations. These releases can be a point source of contamination.