Modelling coupled water flow, solute transport and geochemical reactions affecting heavy metal migration in a podzol soil

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Many subsurface pollution problems involve simultaneous processes as water flow, multicomponent solute transport, heat transport and biogeochemical processes. Models integrating these processes are valuable tools for investigating the mobility of inorganic and organic contaminants subject to different hydrologic and geochemical conditions. HP1 was developed to address multicomponent geochemical transport processes in the vadose zone. In this paper we discuss a hypothetical HP1 application involving the transport of major cations and heavy metals in a soil during transient flow over a period of 30 years. Results show that variations in water content and water fluxes can significantly influence the speciation, and thus the mobility and availability, of elements. Decreasing water contents near the soil surface lowered pH of the soil solution and produced new cation exchange equilibrium conditions. The upward transport of Cl during summer due to increased evapotranspiration, and subsequent accumulation of Cl near the soil surface, caused an increase in the total aqueous Cd concentration because of the formation of Cd–Cl complexes. Coupled reactive transport codes (HP1) for the unsaturated zone are promising tools to unravel the complex interaction between soil physical and biogeochemical processes, including the impact of natural processes and antropogenic activities on soil evolution


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)449-461
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2008


  • Reactive transport modelling, vadose zone, heavy metals, HP1

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