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An Equation for Describing Solute Transport in Field Soils with Preferential Flow Paths

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Pp. 137-140 in Preferential Flow, Water Movement and Chemical Transport in the Environment, Proc. 2nd Int. Symp. (3-5 January 2001, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA), eds. D. D. Bosch and K. W. King. St. Joseph, Michigan: ASAE  701P0006.(doi:10.13031/2013.2136)
Authors:   T.S. Steenhuis, Y.-J. Kim, J.-Y. Parlange, M.S. Akhtar, B.K. Richards, K.-J.S. Kung, T.J. Gish, L.W. Dekker, C.J. Ritsema, and S.O. Aburime
Keywords:   Solute transport, Miscible displacement, Tracer, Advection, Dispersion, Distribution layer

Modeling solutes under field conditions is cumbersome due to presence of preferential flow paths and the input data needed to describe these paths. We propose a simple equation that can predict the breakthrough of solutes without excessive data requirements. Conceptually the soil is divided in a distribution layer or zone and a conveyance zone. The distribution zone act as a linear reservoir resulting in an exponential loss of solutes from this zone. In the conveyance zone the transport of solutes is described with the convective dispersive equation. Input data required are apparent water content of the distribution zone and solute velocity and dispersion in the conveyance zone. The model with these three parameters was able to describe the breakthrough of solutes through undisturbed columns.

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