We measured adsorption and transport of cadmium (Cd) in the presence of Ca2+ and Na+ salts of varying ionic strengths and pH by using batch and miscible displacement experiments, carried out on undisturbed and homogenized soil columns. A fluvent-vertic soil was used in this study. In the column experiment a clear effect of ionic strength on breakthrough curves (BTCs) of Cd2+ was observed when the Na+ concentration was increased from 0.02 to 0.2 M. The effect of increasing the Ca2+ concentration on Cd2+ absorption and transport was relatively less pronounced than that recorded for the Na+ solution. At low pH values, H+ ions competed strongly with Cd2+ ions and, at a high pH, precipitation was the main process taking place for Cd2+ sorption. The reliability of the advection- dispersion equation (ADE) was tested. When implemented within the least-squares method, the model produced a sufficiently precise space-time distribution of Cd2+ ion concentrations. The results of this study demonstrated also, that laboratory leaching experiments, when performed on homogenized soil columns, can greatly underestimate Cd2+ ions transport in the field and that preferential flow can increase the mobility and velocity of cadmium movement to the groundwater.
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