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Soil and Water Chemistry
Soil and Water Chemistry 100 Hours Certificate Course
Learn About Soil and Water Chemistry
Soil and Water Chemistry Course Online
Learn about soil and water chemistry in different situations and how it is applied in agriculture, environmental management and health.
Soil is a combination of mineral and organic matter, water and air. It is created by external processes that break rock into fine particles. Without these processes, Earth would not be able to support plant life, or us. About ½ of the total volume of good soil is a mixture of disintegrated and decomposed rock (mineral matter) and humus, the decomposed remains of animals and plants (organic matter). The remaining half is space where air and water circulate. The nature of soil in any given environment depends upon its parent material, time, climate, plants and animals, and slope.
The chemistry of the soil is affected by a number of things, including environmental or ecological factors such as sunlight, temperature plus the pH of the soil itself, its mineral make up, plus organic material. For environmentalists working with soil, it is important to be able to learn how contaminants are first introduced and what problems they can cause. Adsorption, desorption, precipitation, dissolution and other reactions can occur to either increase or decrease soil toxicity.
Water comes in three states: in liquid form, in steam, or as ice. It is a chemically active inorganic polar compound made from two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen bonded together, also known as H₂O. Water can react with metals and metal oxides to form ‘bases’, with non-metal oxides to form ‘acids’, and with specific organic compounds to form alcohols.
All around the earth and atmosphere, water is known to serve as a temperature regulator: in the form of ice it creates a cooling effect, in the form of steam it creates a heating effect. By being the main component of our large bodies of water, such as oceans and lakes, it also helps balance our global climate. Pure water is an excellent solvent yet poor conductor of electricity, however, there are various forms of water which can make them good electrical conductors, such as presence of minerals and dissolved ions, among others.
In this expertly designed course, you will gain an in-depth knowledge of both soil and water chemistry and is ideal for anyone seeking to work in or already working in environmental related industries.
Lesson Structure: Soil and Water Chemistry BSC307
1 Soil Chemistry: An Introduction
- Chemistry Revision
- Useful Chemical Terms
- Elements and Compounds
- Chemical formulae
- Parts of a Compound
- Inorganic, Organic and Biochemistry
- Other Common Biochemical Groups
- Chemical Names
- Arrangement of Atoms in a Compound
- Basic Chemical Reactions
- Calculating the Components of a Chemical
- Soil Redox Reactions
- Biogeochemistry and Soil Structure Review
- The Hydrological Cycle
- The Carbon Cycle
- The Nitrogen Cycle
- Chemoautotrophic Organisms
- Ammonium Fixation
- The Urea Cycle
- Soil Adsorption/Desorption
2 Soil Chemical Processes
- Introduction: How Soils Develop
- Soil profile
- Factors of Soil Formation in More Detail
- Weathering Processes of Soil Formation
- Physical Weathering
- Chemical Weathering
- Geochemical weathering
- Pedochemical Weathering
- Soil Profile Description
- The Features of Different Horizons
- Soil Classification and Description
- Great Soil Groups in Order of Degree of Profile Development and Degree of Leaching
- Key Properties of a Selection of Different Soil Groups
- Range of Soils Found on Parent Materials
- Northcote System
- Classification of British Soils
- Soils Types and Plant Growth
- Properties of Soils
- Physical and Chemical Properties of Soil
- Assessing the Soil
- Soil Characteristic Changes
- Texture and its Effect on Plant Growth
- Structure and its Effect on Plant Growth
- Consistence and its Effect on Plant Growth
- Depth of Profile and how it relates to Plant Growth
- Porosity and how it relates to Plant Growth
- pH and Its Effect on Plant Growth
- Adjusting the pH
- Use of Liming Materials to Raise pH
- Cation Exchange Capacity
- Soil Humus
- Carbon/Nitrogen Ratio
- Chemical Terms Revision
3 Soil-Chemical Testing
- Obtaining soil samples for testing
- Do’s and Don’ts of Soil Sampling
- Common Soil Tests
- Soil testing for nutrient analysis
- Tissue Analysis
- Other Soil Cations
- Potassium (K)
- Magnesium (Mg)
- Calcium (Ca)
- Sodium (Na)
- The CEC in Soils
- Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC) (me (meq)/100 g or cmol(+)/kg)
- Soil micronutrients
- Suggested Reading/Revision
4 Soil Chemistry – Applications in Agriculture
- Components of Soil Fertility
- Nutrient Pools
- Farm Chemicals
- Suggested Reading
5 Soil Chemistry – Applications in Environmental Management
- Soil Pollutants
- Sewage Sludge Use
- Redox Reactions
- Soil Remediation
6 Water Chemistry — Introduction
- Water: Chemical and Physical Properties
- Hydrological Cycle
- Water Resources
- Basic Outlook between Surface Water and Groundwater
- Fresh Water
- Brackish Water
- Water Footprint
- Drought and Impact
7 Water – Chemistry of Water Sources and Drinking Water
- Water Sources and Theie Chemical Composition
- Chemistry of Seawater
- Chemistry of Groundwater
- Chemistry of Surface Water
- Chemistry of Potable Drinking Water
8 Water – Chemical Testing
- Water pH
- Testing pH
- Electrical Conductivity (EC)
- Testing EC
- Total Alkalinity
- Testing Total Alkalinity
- Total Hardness
- Obtaining Ca2+ and Mg2+ Concentrations
- Water Analysis
- Calculating Total Hardness
9 Water chemistry –applications in agriculture
- Subjects covered to be added
10 Water chemistry – applications in the environment management
- Subjects covered to be added
11 Temperature effects of water and general health
- Subjects covered to be added
Learning Goals: Soil and Water Chemistry BSC307
Soil Chemistry Section:
- Describe the dominant geochemical cycles on earth. Demonstrate an understanding of basic chemistry including atoms and their components, elements, compounds and chemical reactions.
- Explain the important chemical reactions occurring in soil and their consequences; differentiate between different soil fractions with respect to their nature, size and chemical activity.
- Describe different soil test methods and explain how the test results are used.
- Explore components of soil fertility.
- Describe soil chemistry/fertility factors affecting crop growth in different farming environments.
- Explain ways of improving soil fertility for crop production.
- Discuss the impact of chemically altering soil vs. cycling and other natural methods.
- Describe inorganic and organic soil pollutants.
- Discuss effects on health and the environment.
- Discuss ways to remediate soils.
Water Chemistry Section:
- Outline the components of the earth’s water cycle.
- Describe the main chemical properties of water.
- Explain the various ways in which water is classified.
- Explain the chemistry of different water sources, giving examples of different properties and reactions.
- Describe different water test methods and explain how the test results are used.
Practical (Set Tasks)
Soils are affected by a multitude of factors. The simplest “external” factors affecting soils are contaminants and pollutants. Contaminants are usually considered things added by humans, things that have been introduced to the environment or soil environment. Pollutants may be the result of human intervention, or naturally occurring. This means a contaminant is always a pollutant, but a pollutant is not always a contaminant.
Managing these external factors is an important part of keeping soil healthy and productive. The presence of contaminants and pollutants can seriously impact plant growth, or replanting. It can also affect human and livestock health through accumulation in the plant. In smaller amounts, this may be of a little issue. In many cases, however, biomagnification can make a seemingly harmless amount of pollutant quite dangerous.
There are a wide range of different pollutants that can contaminate the chemistry of soils, both inorganic and organic chemicals, from a wide variety of sources including pesticides, industrial wastes, and the results of all types of other human activity.
A useful way of describing contaminated soils was proposed by R.F. Isbell in 1996, as follows:
- Cumulic Soils – Soils where man-made materials have been deposited. (e.g. shell midden)
- Hortic Soils – Soils which have had compost, manure or other organic materials incorporated into the surface layers.
- Garbic Soils – Soils used to bury landfill waste with high levels of organic matter, which commonly develops methane or land fill gasses.
- Urbic Soils – Soils used to bury landfill waste with low levels of organic matter, that does not develop land fill gasses. These are commonly called “brownfill” sites.
- Dredgic Soils – Soils with large amounts of mineral materials dredged from bodies of water, or tailings ponds from mining.
- Spolic Soils – Soils created on mineral materials from land disturbed by construction or mining.
- Scalpic Soils – Soils that result from scalping (removing) surface and near surface layers of the ground. (e.g. when levelling or terracing ground for housing, industrial or even agricultural development)
More specifically contaminated soils may include:
- Inorganic Contaminants (e.g. Arsenic, Barium, Beryllium, Cadmium, Chromium, Copper, Lead, Manganese, Mercury, Nickel and Zinc)
- Organic contaminants (e.g. B-tex, Total recoverable hydrocarbons, Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins(PCDD), Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), Cyanides, and Chlorinated pesticides (e.g. Aldrin, Dieldrin, Heptachlor, Chlordane, DDT)
The existence of contaminants in any locality is greatly influenced by both historic and current land use and treatment of soil. Where soils are more freely draining, or are cultivated to a certain depth, the concentration of pollutants may be diluted; in undisturbed soils with high colloid or clay content, pollutants may be held in the soil, close to the surface in much higher concentrations for much longer periods.
Assessment is based on a combination of completing all assignments and sitting for a final short one and a half hour exam, in your own location.
If you don’t cope well with exams then you may elect to undertake a project instead. This is a popular option.
In addition, most modules have a Set Task at the end of each lesson placed before the assignment. This is an opportunity to undertake practical work to help you acquire knowledge and skills and practical experience. This ADL feature is an added bonus not found at most online schools. Set Tasks are not required for assessment.
Some courses also have optional Self-Tests which are available on our online learning platform. These are not available by correspondence or by USB, and do not form part of your overall grade.
How our courses work
- Choose Your Learning Method
You choose how you would like to receive your course material, i.e., Online, USB or Correspondence. The choice is yours. You may also work on online or offline.
- Tutor Allocation
Every student is assigned their own dedicated tutor who is an expert in their subject area. They provide as much or as little individual contact as you require. You can contact your tutor whenever you need – your hours are not limited.
- Feedback and Assignments
Tutor Feedback is an essential component in helping you understand the subject matter. Tutor feedback is given in the form of notes written on the assignment. We encourage you to contact your Tutor where help with clarification and understanding of course material may be required.
Your assignments are located at the end of each lesson. You submit them for marking whenever you are ready. There is no time limit.
- Set Tasks and Self-Tests
Most modules have a Set Task at the end of each lesson before for the assignment. This is where you get the opportunity to undertake practical work to help you acquire knowledge, skills and practical experience. Many modules also have short Self-Tests.
Once all assignments have been completed you may then elect to sit for a one and half hour exam in your own location. If you prefer not to take the exam you do have the option to undertake a project instead.
Once the exam or project part of the course is completed, your Certificate is then processed. Please allow approximately 4 weeks for this.
- Design Your Own Qualification
ADL offers students the flexibility to self-design their own qualification – bundling together a combination of 100-hour modules into a qualification higher than a certificate.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Due to our years of experience and wide range of online courses, here are a list of our FAQs and Answers asked by Students.
Q. Do I need to buy text books?
A. No, you are not required to purchase expensive text books for any of our courses, since each module has been written by highly qualified tutors and writers, and our courses are updated on a regular basis, adding new information, methods and knowledge. You are supplied with all “essential” references. Extra books are always useful though, especially for special projects. Tutors will advise you what to buy if you decide you would like to have extra reading material, but it is not essential. Check out our eBookstore if you’re looking for a starting point.
Q. What sets the Academy apart from other institutions?
A. A unique feature of our courses is that we combine knowledge of the subject matter with practical tasks (set tasks, found at the end of each lesson). So you get to do practical components in each lesson. The benefits of this approach are immense: – your skills and knowledge are developed to a much higher level not normally found at other distance learning institutions.
Q. How do the practical exercises (set tasks) work?
A. The practical component of each lesson can be in the form of : Field Research, Networking and Analysis, Conducting Surveys, Growing, Collecting, Photographing and Processes.
Q. Can I pay by instalments?
A. Yes, you can view all available payment options here.
Q. Are there any hidden costs?
A. There are no hidden extras – the tuition fee covers all course material, unlimited tutor support, assignment marking/feedback and any text books where specified and exams. The only extras are for the public examinations fees for the ICB Bookkeeping course and the RHS (Royal Horticulture Society) exams.
Q. Are your courses up-to date?
A. Our courses are continually updated. The course content is rapidly updated and improved without the red tape and bureaucracy experienced at other educational institutions.
Q. Do you have a Cancellation policy?
A. We have a cancellation policy that is fair and equitable. For further details please click here.
Q. What Recognition do you have?
A. The Academy for Distance Learning has various forms of recognition:
These include TQUK (Training Qualifications UK) – an Ofqual Awarding Organisation – ADL is an approved TQUK Centre.
IARC – International Approval Registration Centre, approved member. Accredited Training Provider for ICB (Institute of Certified Bookkeepers) and Approved Distance Learning Provider for the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) and many more. Our graduates come from many parts of the world and have used our qualifications for successful employment and progression onto higher education. To view our full list of recognition and memberships please click here,
Q. Will I have any opportunity to engage with other students?
A. We have a Student Community group based on facebook! If you don’t have a facebook account already, you could make one just for talking with fellow students on the group.
Q. Why should I enrol with the Academy for Distance Learning?
A. Here at the Academy our students are our priority – we treat every student as a unique individual. This philosophy allows us to nurture those who are “slow and steady” learners rather than letting them fall through the cracks, while catering for those who are in a hurry to complete.
Q. Can I study from anywhere in the world?
A. Our courses are available to anyone, anywhere in the world from the comfort of your own home. The course content is relevant to any country, culture or economy.
Q. Completing the course- how long will it take?
A. Completion of modules varies from student to student. Many factors come into play such as work commitments and family life- there are always distractions. Some students work quicker than others. For a 100 hour module many students will take up to 3- 6 months, others take less time and some are even longer. It’s all up to you. There is no pressure to complete or deadline to finish. Naturally, longer courses will take more time.
Q. What learning formats are there?
A. Your enrollment comes with the Online Classroom study option by default. For a small additional cost you also have the options of USB or Correspondence.
USB: Your course is sent to you on a USB stick, so that you can carry it in your pocket. Ideal for those with unreliable internet connections. This option is an additional £5/module
Correspondence: You download the course content and then print your own copy to your requirements. You can then bind the lessons to suit your needs.
Q. Assessment – how does it work?
A. For each 100 hour module you are assessed by assignments (at the end of each lesson) and a final one and a half hour exam (or you may elect to complete a project instead of sitting the exam) – the choice is yours – you sit for the exam in your own location, or you can visit us in Canterbury, England to sit the exam if want to. Exam fees are included in the tuition fee you paid. You can read more about the examination process here. At the end of each lesson, there is an assignment. You submit it to the academy who then submits it to the tutor for marking, comments and feedback. Our policy is to have a grade for you within 5 to 7 days.
Q. How many assignments do I need to complete for each module?
A. At the end of each lesson, there is an assignment – so if a course has say, 10 lessons there would be 10 assignments. The number of lessons per module varies from module to module. See the course content from our website for further details.
Q. When do I have to hand in my first assignment?
A. There is no deadline for handing in the first assignment. Submit when you are ready. There are some students who hand in assignments within the first couple of weeks of enrolment – while there are others who submit their work 6 months later. It’s all at your own convenience to suit you. Everyone has different work and home commitments and we cater to these needs.
Q. I am having difficulty attending workshops/industry meetings, what can be done?
A. If your course requires attendance at workshops, conferences, or industry meetings; alternative arrangements can be made in your country; however, there may be an additional expense. We can appoint an appropriately qualified person anywhere to work through curriculum documentation supplied by us, to satisfy the requirements set down in a course.
Q. What qualification will I receive?
A. For individual modules, you would receive a Certificate (providing you complete all assignments and the exam). If you just want to complete the assignments only, then a Letter of Achievement would be awarded. For more details on qualifications awarded please click here.
Q. Is there a next level to progress to?
A. Yes – you can progress from one module to a combination of many modules and to higher qualifications i.e. Advanced Certificates, Diplomas and Higher Advanced Diplomas. Read more about course levels here.
Q. Can I customize my diploma/higher qualification?
A. Not all educational institution’s certificates /diplomas meet everyone’s needs. The opportunity to design your own diploma at the Academy (subject to our approval) is an added bonus, not found at other colleges. It’s a very popular option and widely used by many students. You quite simply choose the appropriate number of related modules needed to complete the qualification and submit them to us for approval as a custom diploma.
Q. What do I get when I complete the course? Will I receive a transcript?
A. At the completion of a 100-hour Certificate course and providing all assignments and exam have been completed, you will receive a Certificate and Transcript. The Transcript will list your GPA. Each 100-hour module is worth 3 credit hours.
Q. Do I have to sit for an exam?
A. Exams are optional but need to be undertaken in order to receive the Certificate or higher qualification. Exams are one and a half hours long. You appoint an adjudicator (subject to our approval) to supervise the exam. You sit for the exam in your own location. Its that simple.
Q. I don’t cope well with exams – what can I do?
A. If you feel you don’t cope well with exams you may elect to undertake a Project (set by the tutor) instead of sitting the exam. Many students prefer this option as they find researching the material for the project sharpens their research skills.
Q. If I don’t sit for the Exam do I still get a qualification?
A. If you don’t sit for the exam but complete the project alternative, you will still receive your endorsed qualification. If you don’t sit for an exam or complete a final project, providing you have completed all the assignments you will be awarded a Certificate of Achievement.
Q. Do I have to sit for the exam at the Academy?
A. No – whilst you are more than welcome to come to our location in Canterbury, U.K. and sit the exam in our classroom; the more popular option is to sit for the exam in your own location. You appoint an adjudicator to supervise the exam. Click here for more information on that process.
Q. Our tutors – who are they?
A. We only employ tutors who have are currently active in their industry with at least 5 years of real-world experience. Not only are they highly qualified but also experienced, knowledgeable, and professional- experts in their chosen fields from all parts of the world.
Q. Can I contact my tutor at any time?
A. Yes- you have unlimited access to tutors. We strongly encourage students to develop a dialogue with their Tutor. This is why we encourage students to submit their first assignment fairly quickly at the beginning of the course.
Every Academy student is assigned a tutor who supports you throughout your course and beyond. Your tutor is there to guide and facilitate your learning and provides as much or as little individual contact as you would like. When you submit your coursework the tutor will give you feedback that helps you develop your ideas and provides motivation. For those who do like to have interaction with other students, the ADL discussion forum connects you to students from all over the world.
Q. How do I contact my tutor?
A. You have direct contact with your tutor by email through the Online Classroom. Alternatively, you can write, fax, email, or phone the academy. Leave a message if your tutor isn’t available and they will phone, write or fax back; whatever suits you.
Q. If I don’t understand a question or a lesson may I contact the tutor?
A. You may contact a tutor as often as you like. There is no additional charge or restriction on this service. Contact can be made via the Student Zone, email, or by phone.
Q. Practical work – How is this done?
A. To find out more about this part of the course please visit the section on How Our Courses Work here.
What your tuition fees include
- All Course Material via Online, USB or Correspondence
- Assignments Marked
- Professional Tutor Feedback
- Set Tasks - Practical Exercises to help you develop skills
- Self-Tests – multiple choice questions at the end of lessons in most modules
- Unlimited Personal Tutor Support – via our student classroom
- Committed and Friendly Admin Support – vital to your success
- ADL Ebook where relevant
- All ADL Exam or Project fees (exception RHS exams)
- Qualification Certificate
- Official Transcript with assignment grades
- Student Manual
- Academic Writing course (optional - 10 hours only)
- Critical Thinking course (optional - 10 hours only)
- Job Seekers Careers Guide
- Study Tips on How To Study Better
- Career Counselling by ADL Staff
- CV Writing Help, Tips and Advice
There are no hidden extras
FAQ - RHS Theory Qualifications
If you require further details about any of the RHS industry recognised qualifications please, call one of our friendly RHS Course Advisors on +44 (0)1227 789 649 or email: email@example.com
Q: When can I Enrol/Start My RHS Course With ADL?
A: Anytime, Anywhere. There are no enrolment deadlines.
Q: I live Overseas. Can I Study From Overseas?
A: You can study any of the RHS theory qualifications overseas. All courses are offered in English. You will need to email RHS Qualifications direct to arrange sitting for your examination overseas.
Q: Is There a Time Limit for Completing an RHS Qualification?
A: At present there are no time limits. However, RHS is contemplating in the future, the introduction of course time-lines.
Q: Are There Any Entry Requirements (Pre-Requisites)?
A: The RHS Theory courses do not require prerequisites, previous experience or any knowledge of horticulture. You just need passion for all things horticulture.
Q: What Course Should I Start With First? I Am New To RHS Qualifications.
A: We highly recommend that you start with Level 2 – Principles of Garden Planning, Establishment and Maintenance.
Q: What Does ADL Course Material Include?
A: Includes Power Point Presentations, Videos and written course lessons.
Q: When Do Exams Take Place?
A: Exams are held on fixed dates in February and June of each year. You should register as a candidate at least 3 months before these dates, so please do not leave exam registration to the last minute
Q: Where Do I Take My Exams?
A: UK: You take the exams at the RHS Wisley Centre, located between Cobham and Ripley in Surrey or at other authorised RHS centres around the UK.
Overseas: please email RHS qualifications direct for centre information.
Q: Exam Pass Marks?
A: Module – pass 50%. Commendation 70%.
Qualification: 50% pass for all modules.
Commendation awarded for all modules.
Each question carries a value of 10 marks.
Q: I’m Not Happy With My Exam Results?
A: You have the opportunity to re-sit your exam at the next opportunity.
There are no restrictions on the number of re-sits you can take. The highest mark you achieve will remain.,