Soil contamination is caused by the presence of man-made chemicals or other alteration in the natural soil environment. This type of contamination typically arises from the rupture of underground storage tanks, application of pesticides, percolation of contaminated surface water to subsurface strata, oil and fuel dumping, leaching of wastes from landfills or direct discharge of industrial wastes to the soil. The most common chemicals involved are petroleum hydrocarbons, solvents, pesticides, lead and other heavy metals. The occurrence of this phenomenon is correlated with the degree of industrialisation and intensity of chemical usage. The concern over soil contamination stems primarily from health risks, both of direct contact and from secondary contamination of water supplies. It is in North America and Western Europe that the extent of contaminated land is most well known, with many countries in these areas having a legal framework to identify and deal with this environmental problem; this however may well be just the tip of the iceberg with developing countries very likely to be the next generation of new soil contamination cases.
This book gathers the latest research from around the globe in this field.