Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IITs) and the University of California have developed a new software that accurately predicts the movement of contaminants through complex soil structure. According to IIT Mandi, which led the research, the software is especially useful in estimating fertiliser application in agricultural fields, predicting the spread of leachate from landfill disposal and designing disposal mechanisms for complex chemicals such as nuclear, organic, inorganic, heavy metals, various cations and anions.
"An often-overlooked source of pollution is land pollution - contaminants are released from discarded or disposed waste through physical, chemical, and microbial processes and percolate through the soil, eventually polluting the groundwater. An assessment of the deleterious effects of soil and groundwater contamination requires an understanding of the nature of movement of contaminants through various layers of soil.
According to the team, mathematical models can better represent natural systems and such models are being developed all over the world to understand the leaching patterns in various types of soil. "The movement of chemicals through soil is being studied using several complex models that are not easy to couple and require several commercially available expensive software which are often not validated for a complex problem due to unavailability of analytical solutions," said Deepak Swami, Assistant Professor, IIT Mandi.