Transport of a nematicide in surface and groundwaters in a tropical volcanic catchment
Received for publication August 7, 2008. The aim of this article is to determine how the nematicide cadusafos [S,S-di-sec-butyl O-ethyl phosphorodithioate] contaminates water and soils at two scales, subcatchment and catchment. The study site was a small banana (Musa spp.)-growing catchment on the tropical volcanic island of Guadeloupe in the Caribbean. Two application campaigns were conducted, one in 2003 on 40% of the catchment and one in 2006 on 12%. The study involved monitoring for 100 d the surface water and groundwater flows and the cadusafos concentrations in the soil and in surface and groundwaters in a 2400 m2 subcatchment and a 17.8 ha catchment. The results show that at the subcatchment scale the high retention in the A horizon of the soil limits the transport of cadusafos by runoff, whereas the lower retention of the molecule in the B horizon favors percolation toward the shallow groundwater. Comparing the losses of cadusafos at the subcatchment and at the catchment scales revealed that the nematicide re-infiltrated in the hydrographic network. Two successive phases of stream water contamination were observed, corresponding to two distinct contamination mechanisms: an event-dominated contamination phase (of <30 d) when transport was linked to overland flow during precipitation shortly after application, and a stabilized contamination phase when transport originated mainly from the drainage of the shallow aquifer. Lastly, comparing the losses of the two phases during 2003 and 2006 showed that shallow groundwater, which is promoted in such permeable soils under abundant tropical rainfalls, seems to be the main contributor to stream contamination.