Transport and Transformation of Contaminants in Hydrological Systems

 Study course:
M. Sc. Civil Engineering, M. Sc. Geoecology, M. Sc. Water Science & Engineering
„Water and Energy Cycles“
 Credit Points/ECTS:
6 (Civil Eng./Geoecol.) or 9 (WatSciEng)

Learning outcomes

Students are able to explain processes of transport and decomposition related to nutrients and pollutants in surface runoff and in the unsaturated zone of rural catchments.
Students are able to independently apply analytical and process-based models: estimation of model parameters from field investigations, estimation of water- and substance fluxes and balance in the critical zone, statements on the risks related to contaminant mobilization in natural soils.
Students are able to evaluate the limits of applicability of modeling approaches in natural, heterogeneous soils.

Learning contents

Transport processes in the unsaturated zone related to infiltration, surface runoff, and movement of soil water

  •  Advective-dispersive transport in homogeneous and heterogeneous soils
  •  Particulate transport by erosion
  •  Adsorption
  •  Chemical and microbial processes of reaction and decay in soils
  •  Modeling contaminant transport (e.g. pesticides) in soils using analytical models
  •  Risk assessment for pesticides in soils (transport, residence times, adsorption, decay)
  •  Estimation of model parameters from field exploration
  •  Parameterization of adsorption isotherms
  •  Breakthrough curves

Computer exercise

  •  Simulation of water and substance transport with process-based models
  •  Independently conducted risk-assessments for pesticides using simple simulation techniques

 Lab experiments

  •  Setup of a undisturbed soil column, and conduction of transport experiments
  • part of 9 CP module

Proof of performance

Take home exam and colloquium; Lab report



Prof. Dr.-Ing. Erwin Zehe; Office hours: Tuesday 13:00 – 15:00 by  appointment

Dr. Jan Wienhöfer; by appointment