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How do you remove Glyphosate from runoff water from agricultural land? How do you prevent glyphosate from entering the drinking water supply?

Submitted by: Mary Bailey


Expert response from Stephen Adams

Chemistry Regulatory Affairs Manager, Bayer Crop Science

Thursday, 02/10/2014 22:20

I have recently responded to this very topic but for more detailed information you can find my full response here on management practices that farmers use to limit movement of glyphosate:  


“There are a number of management practices that farmers use to limit the movement of glyphosate herbicides and other pesticide tools in both ground- and surface-water sources of drinking water and there are two ways in which pesticides can enter into ground and surface water—either directly, called point source, or indirectly, called nonpoint source. I spent a good portion of my career in agriculture in the field working with famers, talking about pesticide best management practices to help eliminate direct entry and minimize indirect entry of pesticides into sources of drinking water.


Here are a few examples of common practices farmers use to avoid both routes of entry:

  • Farmers don’t place a hose from the well directly into the spray solution in the tank.
  • Farmers ensure that the well-head – the point where the water is drawn up out of the ground – is properly sealed so that the rinse water, and even ordinary rain water, cannot flow directly down the pump shaft into the groundwater supply.
  • Farmers try to plan their pesticide application not to coincide with heavy rain events
  • Farmers have been using a farming practice called conservation tillage more and more over the years
  • Another practice that farmers use to minimize the flow of water across fields and into lakes, rivers and streams, is to maintain what are called vegetative buffer or filter strips between the fields and the surface-water bodies they drain into.”


You might also be interested in another response on glyphosate written by my colleague Donna Farmer.  


“Glyphosate inhibits the growth of plants by blocking an enzyme found in plants. This enzyme is not found in humans, fish, birds, insects or any other type of wildlife. Glyphosate has undergone extensive toxicology testing over the last 40 years, with at least six separate toxicology data sets generated by different registering companies across the globe. These data are remarkably consistent, and there is no evidence in any of those studies that glyphosate produces neural tube defects, like anencephalitis. Glyphosate is registered in 166 countries around the world, and the consensus of regulatory authorities and scientific bodies (e.g. the World Health Organization) is that glyphosate is not carcinogenic, genotoxic, neurotoxic or immunotoxic, has no endocrine disruption potential and does not impact reproduction or cause birth defects.  Glyphosate has an excellent toxicological profile….”


 Here is her full response that describes how glyphosate works and information regarding safety of the herbicide.