First Advisor

Gwynn R. Johnson

Date of Award

Winter 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Civil & Environmental Engineering


Civil and Environmental Engineering




Copper -- Transport properties, Organic wastes as soil amendments, Inorganic soil pollutants -- Transport properties, Soils -- Solute movement, Trace elements in agriculture




Biosolids are used as amendments to agricultural soils and can be a source of trace metals. It is unknown if these land-applied trace metals travel through the soil column to the water table. This study aims to determine the transport behavior of copper in natural soils, including 'aged' soils, commercial agricultural soils that have had multiple years of biosolids applications. Using acid digests and Darcy column apparatus it was determined that factors such as pH, soil composition, especially organic matter content, and the presence of other trace metals influence copper’s complex transport behavior in these soils. Natural soil appears to filter the metal precipitates that form at environmental pH. Under certain conditions, these trace metal precipitates can become mobile. There is also evidence of competition for soil binding sites between iron and copper.


© 2017

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A research project report submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering.

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