ABSTRACT Laboratory advection-diffusion tests are performed on two regional soils-Brown Earth and Red Earth-in order to assess their capacity to control contaminant migration with synthetic contaminant solution of sodium sulphate with sodium concentration of 1000 mg/L. The test was designed to study the transport/attenuation behaviour of sodium in the presence of sulphate. Effective diffusion coefficient (De) that takes into consideration of attenuation processes is used. Cation exchange capacity is an important factor for the attenuation of cationic species. Monovalent sodium ion cannot usually replace other cations and the retention of sodium ion is very less. This is particularly true when chloride is anion is solution. However, sulphate is likely to play a role in the attenuation of sodium. Cation exchange capacity and type of exchangeable ions of soils are likely to play an important role. The effect of sulphate ions on the effective diffusion coefficient of sodium, in two different types of soils, of different cation exchange capacity has been studied. The effective diffusion coefficients of sodium ion for both the soils were calculated using Ogata Bank’s equation. It was shown that effective diffusion coefficient of sodium in the presence of sulphate is lower for Brown Earth than for Red Earth due to exchange of sodium with calcium ions from the exchangeable complex of clay. The soil with the higher cation exchange retained more sodium. Consequently, the breakthrough times and the number of pore volumes of sodium ion increase with the cation exchange capacity of soil.
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