Geochemical data were collected to investigate the effects of topography and focused recharge on the transport of agricultural chemicals to groundwater through sandy soils. The research was done at a topographically high (upland) site and a depressional (lowland) site within a corn field. Agricultural chemicals that move readily with water were most directly affected by focused recharge to the lowland site. Surface runoff of water to the lowland site was the primary cause for the generally greater flux of chloride, nitrate nitrogen, and sulfate compared with the upland site. Based on data from the unsaturated zone, for example, the average annual fluxes of these chemicals in 1992-1993 were 5.1, 3.4, and 1.7 times greater, respectively, at the lowland site. Study results indicate that consideration should be given to modifying site-specific management farming technology to account for varying recharge rates in different topographic settings. By reducing chemical application rates in topographic depressions, where focused recharge of chemicals occurs because of surface runoff, farmers could improve ground-water quality as well as reduce expenditures for agricultural chemicals.
Additional publication details
Effects of topography on the transport of agricultural chemicals to groundwater in a sand-plain setting