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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Effect of Chlorination on Some Physical and Biological Properties of a Submerged Soil1


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 22 No. 3, p. 244-246
    Received: Nov 1, 1957
    Accepted: Jan 30, 1958

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  1. Curtis E. Johnson2



The water supplied to a small test pond was chlorinated in an attempt to prevent the decline in infiltration rate associated with microbial activity in soil under prolonged submergence. The decline in rate was not eliminated; but, as the microbial population in the soil was reduced, the infiltration rate leveled off at a higher than normal rate. When chlorination was stopped, numbers of microorganisms increased rapidly, and the infiltration rate dropped sharply. Each time chlorination was resumed, numbers of microorganisms declined and some recovery in infiltration rate was obtained. Full recovery in infiltration rate, however, was never achieved even though the soil was eventually sterilized to a depth of 2 feet.

Chlorine appears to have no lasting effect other than the reduction of soil organic matter content and coincident destruction of soil structure. Subsequent water spreading on the soil which has a low organic content results in lower than normal infiltration during the initial 40 days due to loss of soil structure. For periods of spreading longer than 90 days, more water will be infiltrated due to the fact that there is less organic matter, a lower level of microbial activity, and less clogging of soil pores by products of microbial metabolism.

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