Pollutants in Porous Media: The Unsaturated Zone Between Soil Surface and Groundwater

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The unsaturated zone is the medium through which pollutants move from the soil surface to groundwater. Polluting substances are subjected to complex physical, chemical and biological transformations while moving through the unsaturated zone and their displacement depends on the transport properties of the water-air- porous medium system. Pollution caused by human activities, agriculture, and industry, has brought about a growing interest in the role of the unsaturated zone in groundwater pollution. Due to the complexity and the multidisciplinary nature of the subject, it is being investigated by specialists from various scientific disciplines, such as soil physicists, chemists, biologists, and environmental engineers. This state of affairs has motivated the initiative taken by the Water Quality Commissions of IUPAC (the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry) and IAHS (the International Association of Hydrological Sciences) to convene an international workshop, which was organized and hosted by the Institute of Soils and Water of the Agricultural Research Organization in Bet- Dagan, Israel in March 1983. The lecturers at the workshop were an invited group of specialists who are engaged in studying the many facets of the unsaturated zone, and the present book is a selection of their presentations. Each chapter of the book relates to a different aspect of the unsaturated zone.