Watson Soil Water Quality Lab

What do we work on?

Our laboratory works across multiple applications of our science. The core theme of our work is soil and water quality. Clearly, water quality is tied to much of what occurs in our soils. Water travels through the soil as it moves from the soil surface to aquifers. Along the way it dissolves and carries with it chemicals that are in the soil. These can be naturally occurring chemicals, such as calcium, sodium, iron or aluminum, or they can be man-made chemicals such as personal care products or pesticides.

Our work seeks to understand the processes and mechanisms of transport of these chemicals, both from laboratory and field experiments. Recently, a focus area for our work has been the Penn State Living Filter. This is a land area composed of a mix of forested sites and agricultural crop sites which receives wastewater effluent from the Penn State campus at University Park. It provides a real-world environment in which to study the transport processes of chemical constituents in wastewater being used to irrigate forested and cropped areas.

Soil Testing Survey: Soil Testing - Perceptions of Importance, Impact, and Role of Cooperative Extension (pdf)

Contact me, Jack Watson, at jackwatson@psu.edu