Natural Attenuation

Aug 30, 2021

Environmental Enlightenment #326

When something attenuates, it becomes less.

Natural attenuation is the process where the presence of certain substance in the environment reduces overtime without human intervention, using physical, chemical and biological processes that are part of nature.

When chemicals are released into soil and groundwater, several natural processes begin to destroy or alter their chemical components.

These processes include adsorption on soil particles, biodegradation, dilution and dispersion in groundwater.

A substance is adsorbs in soil when it attaches to soil particles. The water molecules adsorb to the clay particle.

Bio-degradation occurs when natural bacteria in soil and groundwater use certain substances as their primary source of energy or food.

As contaminants mix with soil and groundwater over time, their concentrations are reduced.

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