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Laegdsmand, M.1,2; de Jonge, L. W.2; Moldrup, P.1

Technical Articles

Transport of pollutants by colloids and dissolved organic matter (DOM) may increase the leaching of strongly sorbing pollutants (e.g., PAHs, heavy metals, radionuclides, and certain pesticides). A prerequisite for colloid-and DOM-facilitated transport is the release of colloids and DOM from soil. In the present study, the leaching of colloids and DOM from columns packed with natural soil aggregates (2-4 mm) was investigated. Aggregates with different organic matter content were used: Aggregates from Soil 1, with 3.6% organic matter content, and aggregates from Soil 2, with 2.5%. The leaching experiments showed that colloid leaching increased with higher organic matter content. Colloid leaching was strongly affected by the ionic strength of the infiltrating water but less so by the specific type of cation. However, prolonged leaching (20 h) with KCl increased the leaching of colloids, probably because of the ion exchange of naturally occurring polyvalent ions with K+. The accumulated amount of colloids leached during 20-h period was orders of magnitude lower than the amount of dispersible colloids (determined by rotation of soil water mixtures), and the organic carbon fraction (foc) of the leached colloids was 3 to 4 times higher than the foc of the dispersible colloids. The leaching of DOM from Soil 1 was greater, but, relative to the soil organic matter content, it was similar for the two soils. The leaching of DOM was not significantly affected by the chemistry of the irrigation water. Irrigation with solutions of KCl and deionized water increased the hydrodynamic dispersion coefficient on Soil 2, due to swelling of the clay minerals and closure of the soil pores. Irrigation with CaCl2 led to lower hydrodynamic dispersion, because of shrinking clay minerals. Soil 1 was less sensitive to shrinking and swelling of clay minerals because of its higher organic matter content.

1Aalborg University, Dept. of Life Sciences, Environmental Engineering Section, Aalborg, Denmark.

Dept. of Agroecology, Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Tjele, Denmark. Dr. Laegdsmand is corresponding author. E-mail:

Received March 26, 2004; accepted Aug. 31, 2004.

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.