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Transport and Fate of Copper in Soils

Authors: S K Sharma, N S Sehkon, S Deswal, Siby John


The presence of toxic heavy metals in industrial effluents is one of the serious threats to the environment. Heavy metals such as Cadmium, Chromium, Lead, Nickel, Zinc, Mercury, Copper, Arsenic are found in the effluents of industries such as foundries, electroplating, petrochemical, battery manufacturing, tanneries, fertilizer, dying, textiles, metallurgical and metal finishing. Tremendous increase of industrial copper usage and its presence in industrial effluents has lead to a growing concern about the fate and effects of Copper in the environment. Percolation of industrial effluents through soils leads to contamination of ground water and soils. The transport of heavy metals and their diffusion into the soils has therefore, drawn the attention of the researchers. In this study, an attempt has been made to delineate the mechanisms of transport and fate of copper in terrestrial environment. Column studies were conducted using perplex glass square column of dimension side 15 cm and 1.35 m long. The soil samples were collected from a natural drain near Mohali (India). The soil was characterized to be poorly graded sandy loam. The soil was compacted to the field dry density level of about 1.6 g/cm3. Break through curves for different depths of the column were plotted. The results of the column study indicated that the copper has high tendency to flow in the soils and fewer tendencies to get absorbed on the soil particles. The t1/2 estimates obtained from the studies can be used for design copper laden wastewater disposal systems.

Keywords: Column study, copper, soil, transport.

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