Attenuation of ionic pollutants in selected South African soils
Two–thirds of South Africa, including more than 280 towns and settlements are largely dependent on groundwater for their drinking water supply and development. However, groundwater resources in South Africa are limited both in terms of quantity and quality, especially in the semi–arid parts of the country (Sililo et al., 2001, p. i). Therefore, the importance of protecting groundwater resources from pollution has been recognized. The first objective of this research was to investigate the attenuation capacity of a selection of soil horizons and materials representing major types of diagnostic horizons and materials in the South African soil classification in order to validate their chemical attenuation ratings as provisionally specified by Sililo et al. (2001, p. 4.6). The second objective was to assess the pollutant attenuation capacity of South African soil horizons and materials as well as describe the diagnostic value of key chemical properties of soils for conveying information on their contaminant transport/attenuation potential. The third objective was to investigate whether it is possible to apply acid/base priming using H2SO4 and Ca(OH)2 to a bulk quantity of soil in order to reduce the mobility of contaminants.