Environmental Chemistry Letters

, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp 205–231 | Cite as

Mitigation of agricultural nonpoint-source pesticide pollution in artificial wetland ecosystems

  • Caroline GregoireEmail author
  • David Elsaesser
  • David Huguenot
  • Jens Lange
  • Thierry Lebeau
  • Annalisa Merli
  • Robert Mose
  • Elodie Passeport
  • Sylvain Payraudeau
  • Tobias Schütz
  • Ralf Schulz
  • Gabriela Tapia-Padilla
  • Julien Tournebize
  • Marco Trevisan
  • Adrien Wanko


Contamination caused by pesticides in agriculture is a source of environmental poor water quality in some of the European Union countries. Without treatment or targeted mitigation, this pollution is diffused in the environment. Pesticides and some metabolites are of increasing concern because of their potential impacts on the environment, wildlife and human health. Within the context of the European Union (EU) water framework directive context to promote low pesticide-input farming and best management practices, the EU LIFE project ArtWET assessed the efficiency of ecological bioengineering methods using different artificial wetland (AW) prototypes throughout Europe. We optimized physical and biological processes to mitigate agricultural nonpoint-source pesticide pollution in artificial wetland ecosystems. Mitigation solutions were implemented at full-scale demonstration and experimental sites. We tested various bioremediation methods at seven experimental sites. These sites involved (1) experimental prototypes, such as vegetated ditches, a forest microcosm and 12 wetland mesocosms, and (2) demonstration prototypes: vegetated ditches, three detention ponds enhanced with technology of constructed wetlands, an outdoor bioreactor and a biomassbed. This set up provides a variety of hydrologic conditions, with some systems permanently flooded and others temporarily flooded. It also allowed to study the processes both in field and controlled conditions. In order to compare the efficiency of the wetlands, mass balances at the inlet and outlet of the artificial wetland will be used, taking into account the partition of the studied compound in water, sediments, plants, and suspended solids. The literature background necessary to harmonize the interdisciplinary work is reviewed here and the theoretical framework regarding pesticide removal mechanisms in artificial wetland is discussed. The development and the implementation of innovative approaches concerning various water quality sampling strategies for pesticide load estimates during flood, specific biological endpoints, innovative bioprocess applied to herbicide and copper mitigation to enhance the pesticide retention time within the artificial wetland, fate and transport using a 2D mixed hybrid finite element model are introduced. These future results will be useful to optimize hydraulic functioning, e.g., pesticide resident time, and biogeochemical conditions, e.g., dissipation, inside the artificial wetlands. Hydraulic retention times are generally too low to allow an optimized adsorption on sediment and organic materials accumulated in artificial wetlands. Absorption by plants is not either effective. The control of the hydraulic design and the use of adsorbing materials can be useful to increase the pesticides residence time and the contact between pesticides and biocatalyzers. Pesticide fluxes can be reduced by 50–80% when hydraulic pathways in artificial wetlands are optimized by increasing ten times the retention time, by recirculation of water, and by deceleration of the flow. Thus, using a bioremediation method should lead to an almost complete disappearance of pesticides pollution. To retain and treat the agricultural nonpoint-source po a major stake for a sustainable development.


Artificial wetland Pesticides Agriculture Storm water system Vegetated ditches Forested plots Mitigation Bioremediation Nonpoint-source pollution Detention Retention Water 



The scientific activities of the research network involved in the ArtWET project are financially supported by the contribution of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Community (LIFE 06 ENV/F/000133). We would like also to thank those who helped during this study: Région Alsace et réseau REALISE (France), BASF (France), Conseil général du Haut-Rhin (France), Agence de l’Eau Loire Bretagne (France), Conseil général Indre et Loire (France), Mairie de Rouffach (France).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Caroline Gregoire
    • 1
    Email author
  • David Elsaesser
    • 2
  • David Huguenot
    • 4
  • Jens Lange
    • 3
  • Thierry Lebeau
    • 4
  • Annalisa Merli
    • 5
  • Robert Mose
    • 6
  • Elodie Passeport
    • 7
  • Sylvain Payraudeau
    • 1
  • Tobias Schütz
    • 3
  • Ralf Schulz
    • 2
  • Gabriela Tapia-Padilla
    • 1
  • Julien Tournebize
    • 7
  • Marco Trevisan
    • 5
  • Adrien Wanko
    • 6
  1. 1.ENGEES, CEVHStrasbourgFrance
  2. 2.Institute for Environmental SciencesUniversity of Koblenz-LandauLandauGermany
  3. 3.Institute of HydrologyAlbert-Ludwigs-Universität FreiburgFreiburgGermany
  4. 4.EDBS, Université de Haute-AlsaceColmar cedexFrance
  5. 5.Istituto di Chimica Agraria ed AmbientaleUniversità Cattolica del Sacro CuorePiacenzaItaly
  6. 6.ENGEES, SHUStrasbourgFrance
  7. 7.Cemagref, Hydrosystem and BioprocessesAntonyFrance

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