Within the European Union the exposure of aquatic organisms to pesticides is assessed by simulations with the so-called FOCUS Surface Water Scenarios. Runoff plays an important role in these scenarios. As little is known about the effect of runoff size on the exposure, we investigated the effect of runoff size on the concentration in the runoff water and in streams simulated with the PRZM and TOXSWA models for two FOCUS runoff scenarios.For weakly sorbing pesticides (K F,oc -1) the pesticide concentration in the runoff water decreased exponentially with increasing daily runoff size. The runoff size hardly affected the pesticide concentration in the runoff water of strongly sorbing pesticides (K F,oc ≥1000Lkg-1).For weakly sorbing pesticides the concentration in the FOCUS stream reached a maximum at runoff sizes of about 0.3 to 1. mm. The concentration increased rapidly when the runoff size increased from 0 to 0.1. mm and gradually decreased when runoff exceeded 1. mm. For strongly sorbing pesticides the occurrence of the maximum concentration in the stream is clearly less pronounced and lies approximately between 1 and 20. mm runoff. So, this work indicates that preventing small runoff events (e.g. by vegetated buffer strips) reduces exposure concentrations strongly for weakly sorbing pesticides.A simple metamodel was developed for the ratio between the concentrations in the stream and in the runoff water. This model predicted the ratios simulated by TOXSWA very well and it demonstrated that (in addition to runoff size and concentration in runoff) the size of the pesticide-free base flow and pesticide treatment ratio of the catchment determine the stream concentration to a large extent.
- FOCUS stream scenarios