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Adapting biobeds to treat pesticide rinsate for the Canadian climate.

Braul, L., Sheedy, C., Gossen, B., Yost, C., Haaland, E., and Perry, B. 2016. Adapting biobeds to treat pesticide rinsate for the Canadian climate. Proc. Can. Soc. Bioengineering, Halifax, NB. 2016. ID: 78.


Pesticide biobeds, which use a mixture of organic matter (straw, wood chips), soil and compost to adsorb and degrade pesticides from sprayer rinsate, have been widely adopted in Europe. Recent research indicated that biobeds based on a standard European design can provide effective and low cost management of rinsate containing pesticides commonly used in Canadian crop production. Efficiency challenges in Canada include cold winter temperatures and extreme rainfall events. To address these challenges, improvements such as solar heating or electric heat tapes for rapid warm-up in spring combined with a drainage system to prevent damage from freezing are being field tested. Pesticide removal efficiency for four existing single-cell biobed prototypes that represent a rage of designs (above-ground vs. buried, supplementary heating vs. none, straw vs. wood chips) all exceeded 90%, while a design with two cells in series exceeded 98% pesticide removal. Several pesticides with low Koc values, which indicate lower removal efficiencies compared to the other 44 pesticides analyzed, have been identified. To expand our understanding of pesticide degradation, microbial communities within the biobeds are being characterized using DNA sequencing (population and species), and their presence correlated to soil pesticide concentrations. A construction, operation and maintenance manual for Canadian pesticide rinsate biobeds is planned for release in 2017. The objective of this project is to make it easier for Canadian producers to adopt this safe and effective green technology.

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