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J Contam Hydrol. 2007 Dec 7;94(3-4):261-76. Epub 2007 Jul 17.

Evaluating equilibrium and non-equilibrium transport of bromide and isoproturon in disturbed and undisturbed soil columns.

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UMR 5561-Biogéosciences, UFR Sciences Terre and Environnement, Université de Bourgogne, 6 Bd Gabriel, 21000, Dijon, France.


In this study, displacement experiments of isoproturon were conducted in disturbed and undisturbed columns of a silty clay loam soil under similar rainfall intensities. Solute transport occurred under saturated conditions in the undisturbed soil and under unsaturated conditions in the sieved soil because of a greater bulk density of the compacted undisturbed soil compared to the sieved soil. The objective of this work was to determine transport characteristics of isoproturon relative to bromide tracer. Triplicate column experiments were performed with sieved (structure partially destroyed to simulate conventional tillage) and undisturbed (structure preserved) soils. Bromide experimental breakthrough curves were analyzed using convective-dispersive and dual-permeability (DP) models (HYDRUS-1D). Isoproturon breakthrough curves (BTCs) were analyzed using the DP model that considered either chemical equilibrium or non-equilibrium transport. The DP model described the bromide elution curves of the sieved soil columns well, whereas it overestimated the tailing of the bromide BTCs of the undisturbed soil columns. A higher degree of physical non-equilibrium was found in the undisturbed soil, where 56% of total water was contained in the slow-flow matrix, compared to 26% in the sieved soil. Isoproturon BTCs were best described in both sieved and undisturbed soil columns using the DP model combined with the chemical non-equilibrium. Higher degradation rates were obtained in the transport experiments than in batch studies, for both soils. This was likely caused by hysteresis in sorption of isoproturon. However, it cannot be ruled out that higher degradation rates were due, at least in part, to the adopted first-order model. Results showed that for similar rainfall intensity, physical and chemical non-equilibrium were greater in the saturated undisturbed soil than in the unsaturated sieved soil. Results also suggested faster transport of isoproturon in the undisturbed soil due to higher preferential flow and lower fraction of equilibrium sorption sites.

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