Puddles - A trigger for heterogeneous chemical influx into the unsaturated zone

Eitan Zentner, Noam Weisbrod, Zev Gerstl, Guy Gasser, Daniel Ronen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Spatial heterogeneity in the chemical concentration of interstitial water in the vadose zone was previously observed under apparently homogeneous surface conditions on two leveled fields sprinkler irrigated with treated sewage effluents on the phreatic Coastal Plain aquifer of Israel. This phenomenon greatly hampers the monitoring of groundwater quality. In this study we report on the presence of puddles of different size and shape that were sporadically observed in these fields. Temporal variability noted in the concentration of treated sewage effluents components in the puddles were considered to be related to evapotranspiration and degradation. For example: increases in the electrical conductivity (up to 1.32 mS/cm), and in the concentrations of chloride (up to 521 mg/L), dissolved organic carbon (up to 28.4 mg/L), and carbamazepine (up to 780 ng/L) and decreases in the concentrations of nitrate (up to 20.1 mg/L) and caffeine (3396 ng/L). Variable trends in concentration were observed for sulfamethoxazole, venlafaxine, 10-hydroxy-10,11-dihydrocarbamazepine and o-desmethylvenlafaxine. The presence of puddles was not necessarily related to areas with high irrigation water input. It is postulated that the continuous chemical variability in the puddles, whose location and size are also variable, determine a heterogeneous influx of solutes into the soil and subsequently into the vadose zone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-223
Number of pages7
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2015


  • Heterogeneous influx
  • PPCPs
  • Sewage effluents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemistry (all)
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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