A GIS-assisted regional screening tool to evaluate the leaching potential of volatile and non-volatile pesticides

Seo Jin Ki, Chittaranjan Ray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


A regional screening tool-which is useful in cases where few site-specific parameters are available for complex vadose zone models-assesses the leaching potential of pollutants to groundwater over large areas. In this study, the previous pesticide leaching tool used in Hawaii was revised to account for the release of new volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the soil surface. The tool was modified to introduce expanded terms in the traditional pesticide ranking indices (i.e., retardation and attenuation factors), allowing the estimation of the leaching fraction of volatile chemicals based on recharge, soil, and chemical properties to be updated. Results showed that the previous tool significantly overestimated the mass fraction of VOCs leached through soils as the recharge rates increased above 0.001801. m/d. In contrast, the revised tool successfully delineated vulnerable areas to the selected VOCs based on two reference chemicals, a known leacher and non-leacher, which were determined in local conditions. The sensitivity analysis with the Latin-Hypercube-One-factor-At-a-Time method revealed that the new leaching tool was most sensitive to changes in the soil organic carbon sorption coefficient, fractional organic carbon content, and Henry's law constant; and least sensitive to parameters such as the bulk density, water content at field capacity, and particle density in soils. When the revised tool was compared to the analytical (STANMOD) and numerical (HYDRUS-1D) models as a susceptibility measure, it ranked particular VOCs well (e.g., benzene, carbofuran, and toluene) that were consistent with other two models under the given conditions. Therefore, the new leaching tool can be widely used to address intrinsic groundwater vulnerability to contamination of pesticides and VOCs, along with the DRASTIC method or similar Tier 1 models such as SCI-GROW and WIN-PST.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-173
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Hydrology
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015


  • Groundwater vulnerability
  • Regional screening tool
  • Tier 1 leaching models
  • Vadose zone models
  • Volatile organic compounds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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