Faculty Publications

Title

Buffering capacity: Its relevance in soil and water pollution

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book/Conference Title

New Journal of Chemistry

Volume

20

Issue

2

First Page

205

Last Page

210

Abstract

Buffering capacities in soils are essential for neutralizing or immobilizing inputs of acids and heavy metals. There are four major buffering regimes, each of which operates in a defined pH range. When the rate of pollutant inputs exceeds the rate of natural replenishment of the buffer in a specific regime, the supply of buffer will be exhausted over time, and the soil may switch to a regime at lower pH. As the pH of the soil declines, so does its capacity to immobilize heavy metals. If the soil initially has a moderately high buffering capacity, the time scale before exhaustion is on the order of decades to a century. Over this time there may be no observable environmental effects. When the effects do become obvious, it may be too late to reverse the damage. The importance of buffering capacity as a valued environmental resource must be recognized, and its preservation must be a major component of long-term soil protection policies. © CNRS-Gauthier-Villars.

Original Publication Date

1-1-1996

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