Chapter 4 The Soil System

Author First name, Last name, Institution

Abdel-Mohsen Onsy Mohamed
Evan K. Paleologos

Document Type

Book Chapter

Source of Publication

Fundamentals of Geoenvironmental Engineering

Publication Date



Soil is a multicomponent system consisting of solid, liquid, and gaseous phases, and living organisms. The solid phase of soils consists of both inorganic and organic components. Inorganic components exert a tremendous effect on the physical and chemical properties, such as cation exchange capacity and surface area, and on the overall suitability of soil as a barrier for waste containment. The organic components, although normally present in much smaller quantities than inorganic components, may significantly alter the soil properties. The variability of these separate soil components and pore fluid chemistry will impact the nature of solid-pore fluid interaction mechanisms, adsorption capacity, and fluid transport properties such as hydraulic conductivity, diffusion, and dispersion. These mechanisms and properties are important in evaluating the fate of chemical substances in the terrestrial ecosystem and in determining the proper clay mixture for designing waste containment barrier systems. From a soil cleanup viewpoint, evaluation of the effectiveness of a decontamination procedure can be achieved from a closer consideration of how the pollutants are retained in the organic and inorganic solid phases. This chapter provides the background of the attributes and characteristics of the soil system, which are pertinent to its utility as a waste retention and/or decontaminating agent.




Clays Clay Miner. 27 2 1979


Environmental Engineering

Indexed in Scopus


Open Access