In water repellent soil, Cr, Pb and Cu showed higher adsorption intensities than Zn, Cd and Ni did. Soil water repellency is much more widespread than formerly thought. In order to promote fertility and productivity, the irrigation of recycled water onto water repellent soil may be an applied technology to be used in some areas of Southern Australia. Therefore, heavy metals in recycled water potentially enter into the soil. The competitive sorption and retention capacity of heavy metals in soil are important to be determined, especially considering the special geochemical origin of water repellent soil that was caused by waxes on or between the soil particles. Batch equilibrium sorption experiments on Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn in their typical proportion in recycled water were conducted in water repellent soil. The sorption intensity, sorption isotherm in the experiments together showed that Cr, Pb and Cu have higher sorption intensity than those of Zn, Ni and Cd in the competitive system. The risk assessment for the application of recycled water onto water repellent soil is definitely necessary, especially for the metal cations with relatively weak sorption.
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