Unit 5 Special Environmental Concerns

Content

  • Protecting Groundwater
    • Sources of Ground Water
    • Pesticide Contamination of Ground Water
    • The Certified Applicator's Role
  • Protection of Endangered Species
    • Limitations on Pesticide Use
    • Habitats of Endangered Species
    • Importance of Protecting Endangered Species
    • The Certified Applicator's Role
    • South Carolina Endangered Species

Learning Objectives Unit 5 Special Environmental Concerns

After you complete your study of this unit, you should be able to:

  • Name pesticide handling activities that pose a threat to ground water or endangered species.
  • Explain why the location of your pesticide use site is the main factor that determines whether you must take special steps to protect ground water and endangered species.
  • Explain where to find out whether your pesticide use is subject to any special limitations related to ground water or endangered species.
  • Name factors that determine whether pesticides will reach ground water.
  • Describe actions that pesticide user's can take to avoid pesticide contamination of ground water.
  • Explain how water on surfaces at the release site affects the movement of pesticides into ground water.
  • Explain how the solubility, adsorption, and persistence of a pesticide influence its movement into ground water.
  • Explain how soil type affects the movement of pesticides into ground water.
  • Describe how the geology of a release site affects the movement of pesticides into ground water.
  • Define "endangered species."
  • Explain the. concept of habitat.
  • Define biological diversity.
  • Describe how pesticides may harm endangered species.

Test Your Knowledge Unit 5 Special Environmental Concerns

Q. Which pesticide handling activities pose a threat to ground water or endangered species?
A. All handling activities may pose a threat, including mixing, loading, applying, equipment cleaning, storage, transportation, disposal, and spill cleanup.

Q. Why is the location of your pesticide use site the main factor that determines whether you must take special action to protect endangered species or ground water?
A. These special limitations on pesticide use are usually in effect only in locations where endangered species live or are being introduced and in areas where ground water is especially likely to be contaminated. Unless your pesticide use site is in one of these places, the special restrictions do not apply to you.

Q. How will you know if you must take special action to protect emdangered species or ground water?
A. The pesticide labeling will tell you if special measures are necessary, but it may not contain the detailed instructions that you must follow. The labeling may instruct you to get these from another source.

Q. What are some factors that determine whether pesticides will reach ground water?
A. The factors include: practices followed by pesticide users; presence or absence of water on the surface of the site where the pesticides are released; chemical characteristics of the pesticides; type of soil in the site where the pesticides are released; location of the ground water -- its distance from the surface and the type of geological formations above it.

Q. How can you help to prevent pesticides from reaching ground water?
A. Avoid using more pesticide than the labeling directs; avoid application methods that present special risks; keep pesticides from back-siphoning into your water source; locate pesticide storage facilities at least 100 feet from wells, springs, sinkholes, and other sites that directly link to ground water; locate mix-load sites and equipment-cleaning sites at least 100 feet from surface water or from direct links to ground water or take precautions to protect those sites; dispose of unused pesticides, pesticide containers, and equipment and container rinse water correctly.

Q. Explain why the amount of water on the surface of the soil at the pesticide use site is an important factor in ground water contamination.
A. If there is more water on the soil than the soil can hold, the water (along with any pesticides it contains) is likely to move downward to the ground water.

Q. Explain how the solubility, adsorption, and persistence of a pesticide affect its ability to move into ground water.
A. Solubility - Some pesticides dissolve easily in water and are more likely to move into water systems.
Adsorption - Some pesticides become tightly attached (strongly adsorbed) to soil particles and are not likely to move out of the soil and into water systems.
Persistence - Some pesticides do not break down quickly and remain in the environment for a long time, so are more likely to move into ground water.

Q. What types of soil slow the movement of pesticides into ground water? What types permit rapid movement?
A. Soils that are fine-textured and contain organic matter slow the downward movement of water containing pesticides. Coarse, sandy soils generally allow water to carry pesticides rapidly downward.

Q. What geologic factors affect the movement of pesticides into ground water?
A. Distance to ground water, permeability of geologic layers, and the presence or absence of sinkholes.

Q. What is an endangered species?
A. An endangered species is a plant or animal that is in danger of becoming extinct.

Q. What is a habitat?
A. A habitat is the area of land, water, and air space that an endangered species needs for survival. Such areas include breeding sites; sources of food, cover, and shelter; and enough surrounding territory to give room for normal population growth and behavior.

Q. What is biological diversity?
A. Biological diversity is the variety and differences among living things, and the complex ways they interact.

Q. How can pesticides harm endangered species?
A. Pesticides may harm endangered species by direct contact; by disrupting or destroying sources of food and shelter; by contaminating water ingested by or inhabited by endangered organisms; by building up to dangerous levels in endangered predators that feed on plants or animals exposed to pesticides.

Additional Resources
Clemson University websites:

  1. Regulatory Services Department of Pesticide Regulation
  2. Extension Pesticide Information Program