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Role of degree of saturation in denitrification of unsaturated sand specimens

Rao, Sudhakar M and Malini, R (2014) Role of degree of saturation in denitrification of unsaturated sand specimens. In: ENVIRONMENTAL EARTH SCIENCES, 72 (11). pp. 4371-4380.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1007/s12665-014-3337-z


Nitrate contamination of groundwater arises from anthropogenic activities, such as, fertilizer and animal manure applications and infiltration of wastewater/leachates. During migration of wastewater and leachates, the vadose zone (zone residing above the groundwater table), is considered to facilitate microbial denitrification. Particle voids in vadose zone are deficient in dissolved oxygen as the voids are partially filled by water and the remainder by air. Discontinuities in liquid phase would also restrict oxygen diffusion and therefore facilitate denitrification in the vadose/unsaturated soil zone. The degree of saturation of soil specimen (S (r)) quantifies the relative volume of voids filled with air and water. Unsaturated specimens have S (r) values ranging between 0 and 100 %. Earlier studies from naturally occurring nitrate losses in groundwater aquifers in Mulbagal town, Kolar District, Karnataka, showed that the sub-surface soils composed of residually derived sandy soil; hence, natural sand was chosen in the laboratory denitrification experiments. With a view to understand the role of vadose zone in denitrification process, experiments are performed with unsaturated sand specimens (S (r) = 73-90 %) whose pore water was spiked with nitrate and ethanol solutions. Experimental results revealed 73 % S (r) specimen facilitates nitrate reduction to 45 mg/L in relatively short durations of 5.5-7.5 h using the available natural organic matter (0.41 % on mass basis of sand); consequently, ethanol addition did not impact rate of denitrification. However, at higher S (r) values of 81 and 90 %, extraneous ethanol addition (C/N = 0.5-3) was needed to accelerate the denitrification rates.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: SPRINGER
Additional Information: Copyright for this article belongs to the SPRINGER, 233 SPRING ST, NEW YORK, NY 10013 USA
Keywords: Carbon source; Denitrification; Pore water; Vadose zone
Department/Centre: Division of Mechanical Sciences > Centre for Sustainable Technologies (formerly ASTRA)
Division of Mechanical Sciences > Civil Engineering
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2014 07:27
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2014 07:27
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/50458

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