Industrial liquid wastes are comprised of large volumes of inorganic acids and bases that can alter the soil's proper ties. Acids can increase the amount of aluminum (Al), iron (Fe), and other cations in the water phase of the soil system as the hydrogen ion (H+) cation competes for cation exchange sites. If significant amounts of H+ are present, they can dissolve the more acid-solid minerals, releasing cations which are previously fixed to the mineral structure into the water phase (Dragun 1988b). In addition, acids can cause the dissolution of some of the clay minerals and generally increase soil permeability. Bases can increase the amount of cations in the water phase by dissolving the more base-soluble soil minerals. Bases can also cause the dissolution of some of the soil's predominant clay minerals and generally decrease soil permeability.
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