Soil performs physical, biological and chemical cleaning
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Author:  Doug [ Thu Mar 19, 2015 4:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Soil performs physical, biological and chemical cleaning

“Soil is a great water purifier," says Gary Pierzynski,. "There are three ways that soil cleans water: physical, chemical and biological.” Here are some facts from Pierzynski, a soil science professor at Kansas State University.

Physical: the particles of soil act like a filter. The ideal soil has a distribution of pore sizes so it can filter water, while also allowing the water to pass through the soil.

Chemical: soil particles have a negative charge! That means that positive ions like calcium, magnesium and potassium can all be removed from passing water and retained by the soil. This is good, because each of these ions is a nutrient for plants! Some contaminants can be removed by this mechanism as well.

Biological: soil is the largest bioreactor on the planet. Within the soil, bacteria and fungi transform and decompose certain chemicals. Soil microbes can change organic forms of nitrogen into ammonium ions—and even into nitrogen gas. They can also decompose some organic pollutants!

Author:  user_48634 [ Mon Apr 06, 2015 8:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Soil performs physical, biological and chemical cleaning

...which is not to imply that you can take pond water, run it through some soil, and drink it. There are some nasty microbes that will survive all that and cause you (and anyone near you) considerable distress until you get what you need from a doctor to cure it.

Still it is important to understand how soil works, especially the biology part.

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