Point sources of pollution present a risk of groundwater and surface water contamination that can last for decades or longer. Soil Leach is a screening tool that identifies sites that are potentially susceptible to the leaching of pollutants to groundwater. It uses simple, rapid and robust methods to calculate pollutant concentrations at a receptor.

The tool quantifies the amount of pollutant that can leach from a point source and the time frame associated with the leaching process.


Soil Leach carries out a source-path-receptor analysis. The user enters the information on the source concentration, the soil characteristics, the pollutant involved and selects a relevant receptor. The receptors consist of groundwater or surface water bodies. Soil Leach then provides the pollutant concentration in the soil profile at selected times, and the concentration at the receptor as a function of time. This allows the user to make a more detailed assessment of the risk at the receptor and to define the urgency of a possible intervention.


The software uses analytical solutions of the convection-dispersion equation to describe the process of leaching from the unsaturated zone and, if appropriate, the transport in the saturated zone. Attenuation processes such as sorption, dispersion, volatilisation and degradation are also taken into account.


When operating the tool, the user is requested by different screens to input information on the site characteristics, the pollutant and the point source. A list of pollutants with relevant physico-chemical properties is available, but the user has the option of entering a new pollutant if necessary. The tool gives a conservative estimate of the concentration at a receptor.


Mentioned in: 1 Publication

  • Joris, I., Seuntjens, P., Wilczek, D., Tirez, K., Bronders, J., Cornelis, C., Ceenaeme, J., Engels, R.
    A tiered approach for estimating the risk of solute leaching from the unsaturated zone.
    Consoil 2005, Bordeaux, France, p1086-1092, 2005

Tool Expert(s)

Ingeborg Joris

Ingeborg Joris

Researcher, VITO

+ 32 14 33 55 11