Influence of the vadose zone on groundwater pollution - A review
The vadose zone is the geologic profile that lies between the water table and the ground surface. It has low water content relative to the saturated zone and commonly referred as the unsaturated zone. Recharge to the water table passes through the vadose zone and understanding transport through this region is critical in groundwater pollution studies. Groundwater pollution is controlled by a number of physical and chemical processes which may retard or transform contaminants as they pass through the vadose zone. Porous materials hold water under tension as a component of soil structure, ambient fluid pressures and other factors. When vadose zone water content is below saturation, leakage liquid as well as the dissolved materials passed on in it are retained. Hydrologically, the depth of unsaturated zone plays an important role in controlling water movement and contaminant transport from the land surface to the aquifer. The purpose of this study is to present an overview of the principles of fluid flow and moisture retention in the vadose zone and its influence on groundwater pollution. The study is presented in two parts: Part I includes descriptions of zones of soil moisture, basic principles of properties controlling the fluid distribution in pore spaces and how subsurface soil properties can be used to assess the leachate mobility. Part II review the principle of fluid movement in the vadose zone and impact of seepage on groundwater pollution. This study will focus on how vadose zone conditions and soil properties act to control groundwater pollution.
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