Soil and Water Chemistry 100 Hours Certificate Course
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Soil and Water Chemistry 100 Hours Certificate Course
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.
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.
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
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.
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