Full Title:Soil and Water Management
Module Code:SCIA S8002
Credits: 7.5
Valid From:Semester 1 - 2013/14 ( September 2013 )
Module Delivered in 3 programme(s)
Module Description:In this module, students will acquire a knowledge and understanding of the factors that affect various soil types under different management regimes and the associated effects on surface and groundwater. This module offers a combination of interactive practical classes, field trips and lectures that will cater for a wide range of cognitive abilities on topics that are highly relevant today, in particular due to the on-going implementation of the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC), Water Pollution Act, Nitrates Directive (91/676/EEC), Waste Directive (75/442/EEC) and associated Landfill Directive (99/31/EC) and will be relevant to the future Soil Framework Directive.
Learning Outcomes:
On successful completion of this module the learner should be able to
  1. Evaluate the fundamental principles of soil science, including soil genesis, classification and land use.
  2. Describe and relate aspects of soil biology and biochemistry to soil structure and fertility.
  3. Evaluate the fundamental factors that affect soil hydrology, nutrient storage and the movement of nutrients through a soil profile.
  4. Relate ground and surface water contamination to catchment pressures.
  5. Appraise the effects of drivers at a global scale, including global climate change, on soil and water management.

Module Content & Assessment

Indicative Content
This course builds on previous material given in plant biology and environmental studies. It will apply the principles of soil science to the management of soil and water resources, with a focus on pollution prevention through source protection which is of utmost importance in light of the current stringent legislation implemented both by the European Union and at national level. Such legislation includes the Water Framework Directive, the Nitrates Directive, the Groundwater Directive, the Waste Management Act and the Landfill Directive and the future Soils Framework Directive, all of which form an integral part of this module.
An introduction to the earth's systems
A study on the major cycling systems in soil and water resources. Earth system components including the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and lithosphere. Major energy, moisture, carbon, sulphur cycling systems, residence times of soil, surface and ground waters.
The variability and value of soil resources
Soil properties and its management; soil as a filtering/buffering system in aquifer protection.
Soil as a vital hydrologic routing system
Soil-water interactions in the management of river basins; physical, chemical and biological characteristics of surface and ground waters.
Soil quality and runoff risk assessment from various sources
Surface and groundwater contamination and protection including pollution from septic tanks and nutrient enrichment from agricultural practices.
Agriculture and water quality
The role of animal manures and other organic wastes on the BOD and nutrient loads within aquatic systems; safe landspreading of organic wastes; agriculture and soil erosion.
Drinking water supplies: current issues
Sources of drinking water in Ireland; issues including contamination with pathogens, nitrate, THMs.
Statutory and voluntary regulations on waste, soil and water management and protection.
Relevant EU directives including the Water Framework Directive, the Nitrates Directive, Soils Directive and their incorporation into national legislation.
Potential impacts of climate change and other large-scale drivers on water and soil resources.
Projected climate change in Ireland and potential impacts on water resources and qulaity; use of modelling in climate change assessment.
Practicals (36 hours)
Physical properties of soils
Analysis of the physical properties of soils including bulk density, porosity organic content and particle size.
Chemical properties of soils
Analysis of the chemical properties of soils including pH, available phosphorus, and carbon and nitrogen contents.
Contaminants in surface waters
Assessment of a range of contaminants in surface waters including BOD, COD, suspended solids, phosphorus and ammonia.
Soil-water interactions
Analysis of groundwater and soil, prior to and after an on-site septic tank system.
Site visits:
A field excursion to examine different soil types and their management.
A field excursion to examine different soil types, their management, associated land use and profiles. Soil samples will be taken and analysed in subsequent laboratory sessions.
A field excursion on catchment management
A field trip to various impacted freshwater sites where monitoring stations are in place. A list of possible pollution risks will be assembled and these data will be compiled in a report format.
Assessment Breakdown%
Course Work40.00%
End of Module Formal Examination60.00%

Full Time

Course Work
Assessment Type Assessment Description Outcome addressed % of total Marks Out Of Pass Marks Assessment Date Duration
Practical/Skills Evaluation Range of soil / water practicals 1,2,3 30.00 0 0 Every Week 0
Project Desk study review of relevant literature. 3,4,5 10.00 0 0 Sem 1 End 0
No Project
No Practical
End of Module Formal Examination
Assessment Type Assessment Description Outcome addressed % of total Marks Out Of Pass Marks Assessment Date Duration
Formal Exam End-of-Semester Final Examination 1,2,3,4 60.00 0 0 End-of-Semester 0

DKIT reserves the right to alter the nature and timings of assessment


Module Workload & Resources

Workload: Full Time
Workload Type Workload Description Hours Frequency Average Weekly Learner Workload
Practical No Description 3.00 Every Week 3.00
Lecture No Description 3.00 Every Week 3.00
Independent Study No Description 5.00 Every Week 5.00
Total Weekly Learner Workload 11.00
Total Weekly Contact Hours 6.00
This course has no Part Time workload.
Supplementary Book Resources
  • Matsui, T., Hanaki, S., Takizawa, S. and Satoh, H., Advances in water and wastewater treatment technology., Elsevier, 2001
  • Nick F. Gray 2008, Drinking Water Quality: Problems and Solutions, Cambridge University Press [ISBN: 9780521878258]
  • Environmental Protection Agency, Landspreading of organic waste : guidance on groundwater vulnerability assessment of land., EPA, 2004
  • Nash, H. and McCall, G.J.H., Groundwater quality., Chapman and Hall, 1995
  • Wilson, N., Soil water and ground water sampling., Lewis Publishers, 1995
  • Teagasc, curriculum development unit, Our soil and its management., Teagasc , 2002.
  • Daly, D. Thorn, R. and Henry, H., Septic tank systems and groundwater in Ireland., Geological Survey of Ireland, 1993
  • Todd, D. K., Groundwater hydrology., John Wiley, 1980
  • Thibodeaux, L. J., Environmental chemodynamics: movement of chemicals in air, water, and soil., Wiley, 1996.
  • EU, Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC establishing a framework for the community action in the field of water policy, European Commission, 22nd Dec. 2000
  • EU, Council Directive 91/676.EEC concerning the protection of waters against pollution caused by nitrates from agricultural sources., European Commission 31st Dec. 1991
  • EU, Council Directive 1999/31/EC on the landfill of waste., European Commission 16th July 1999
  • EU, Council Directive 2006/118/EC on the protection of groundwater against pollution and deterioration., European Commission 27th Dec. 2006
  • EU, Waste Management Act, S.I. No. 10 of 1996, No. 36 of 2001
  • EU, Water Pollution Act, 1977
  • EU, The Bathing Water Directive (76/160/EEC), European Commission 8th December 1975
  • EU, The Drinking Water Directive (80/778/EEC) as amended by Directive (98/83/EC), European Commission 5th December 1998
  • EU, The Sewage Sludge Directive (86/278/EEC), European Commission 12th June 1986
  • EU, The Urban Waste-water Treatment Directive (91/271/EEC), European Commission 21st May 1991
  • EU, The Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC), European Commission 21st May 1992
This module does not have any article/paper resources
Other Resources

Module Delivered in

Programme Code Programme Semester Delivery
DK_SENBI_8 Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Environmental Biology 7 Mandatory
DK_SENVI_8 Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Environmental Bioscience 7 Mandatory
DK_SAGRW_8 Certificate in Agri-Waste Management 1 Mandatory