Prof. Amos Banin

Columbia Foundation Professor of Soil and Water Sciences, Emeritus


1961 - M. Sc. (With honors) in Soil Science from Hebrew University of Jerusalem 
1965 - Ph.D. in Soil Science from Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Research Interests:

Physical-chemistry and technology of soils and clays; plant-soil relationships; the role of soils in the global planetary processes of Earth and the other planets.

Wastewater reclamation and reuse: Redox processes, effects on soil geochemistry.

Soil pollution by heavy metals; dynamics of trace-elements in soils.

Long-term soil deterioration processes, involving salinity and sodicity in arid-zones.

Surface acidity of clays and soils.

The soils of Mars.


See also: Amos_Banin


Geochemistry of wastewater recharge: Managing heavy metals sorption and controlling soil degradation processes in recharge basins of the SHAFDAN wastewater reclamation plant

The project objectives are to study the long-term geocemical changes in the recharge-basins soils of a wastewater treatment plant (The Dan Region Reclamation Project (SHAFDAN)) using the Soil Aquifer Treatment (SAT) approach, and to evaluate their effects on the chemical and hydraulic performance of the system. Studies are conducted in basins operating up to 2 decades by comparison to the adjacent native sand dune. A controlled loading experiment, using an experimental pond on-site in the SHAFDAN area, is on-going as well. The Dan Region Reclamation Project (SHAFDAN) is the largest municipal wastewater reclamation project in Israel, serving a population of 1.2x106 people. The plant treats about 100x106 m3 of wastewater per year with plans under way to expand its capacity to 140x106 m3/yr. Raw municipal wastewater is treated either in facultative oxidation ponds or in a mechanical-biological plant using an activated sludge process involving nitrification/denitrification steps. As a final step in the process, the recycled effluents are recharged into the local aquifer using sandy recharge-basins, for polishing and storage in what is called the "Soil-Aquifer Treatment" (SAT). Following that, the water is pumped and supplied to irrigation. SAT was designed to filter-out microorganisms and suspended materials from the effluent, reduce COD and BOD, and remove inorganic constituents. Its ability to perform these tasks is crucial for the proper performance of the whole reclamation operation and for obtaining a high quality product that can be used for "unlimited irrigation"

Funded by Mekorot, Israel National Water Co.

(Participants: A. Banin (PI), C. Lin, G. Eshel, K.E. Roehl, I. Negev, D. Greenwald, Y.Shachar and Y. Yablekovitch, Hebrew University)

Study of the causes for continuous and seasonal decreases in percolation rate of the recharge basin soils at the SHAFDAN sewage water reclamation plant and development of treatments for their prevention and control

Significant repeating decreases in the effective percolation rate during the fall and the winter seasons was discovered in the recharge basins of the Soreq site at the SHAFDAN plant. The project objectives are: (a) To quantify the extent of seasonal changes during the annual cycle, (b) to study the causes and mechanisms for the critical deterioration in recharge rates during the fall/winter and (c) to initiate a field trial to test the effect of amendments on the seasonal and long term deterioration in infiltration rates.

Funded by Mekorot, Israel National Water Co.

(Participants: A. Banin (PI), D. Greenwald, C. Lin, I. Negev and Y. Yablekovitch, Hebrew University)

Redox processes in soils irrigated with reclaimed sewage effluents: Field cycles and basic mechanisms

The use of reclaimed sewage effluents for irrigation is increasing at a significant rate. The relatively high levels of suspended and, especially, dissolved organic matter and nitrogen in effluents likely will affect the redox regime in field soils irrigated with them. In turn, the changes in redox regime will affect, among other parameters, the organic matter and nitrogen dynamics of the root zone, trace organic decomposition processes, and adsorption and release of heavy metals. As such, this may profoundly alter the quality and productivity of fields irrigated with reclaimed sewage water. The overall objective of the project is to investigate in detail the changes in redox potentials in situ in fields irrigated with reclaimed wastewater and continue to develop basic understanding of the controlling processes. The specific objectives are (a) to monitor continuously the redox potential in field soils irrigated with reclaimed waste water and compare them with soils in adjacent fields irrigated with fresh-water and (b) to study, under controlled conditions, the effects of redox changes on two selected key processes related to waste water irrigation, namely heavy metals sorption and pesticide degradation.

Funded by IS-US BARD.

(Participants: A. Banin (PI), Hebrew University, J. W. Stucki, University of Illinois; J. E. Kostka, Florida State University)

Mars soils: Chemical and mineralogical properties and the exobiological connections

One of the key issues related to future Mars exploration is the search for water and life. Mars soil contains the clues for water activity on the planet's surface and its enigmatic nature is still posing questions related to our understanding of Mars evolution. Experimental and modeling studies are conducted to better understand the nature of the soil and develop scenarios and models for its formation, addressing the existing information on their rather enigmatic nature.

(Collaborators: R.M. Mancinelli, SETI Institute/NASA-Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA., USA; J.B. Orenberg, San Francisco State University; T. Roush, NASA-Ames Research Center).

See also: Amos_Banin


Recent Publications

Stucki, J.W., Wu, J., Gan, H., Komadel, P. and Banin A. 2000Effects of iron oxidation state and organic cations on dioctahedral smectite hydration. Clays Clay Min. 48, 290-298.

Han, F.X. and Banin, A. 2000Long-term transformations of Cd, Co, Cu, Ni, Zn, V, Mn and Fe in native arid-zone soils under saturated condition. Commun. Soil Sci. Plant Anal. 31, 943-957.

Singer, A., Banin, A., Poberejzsky, L. and Gilenko, M. 2001Soil crusts in the Amu Darya River delta: Properties and formation. In: S.-W. Breckle, M. Veste and W. Wuchner (eds.), Sustainable Land Use in Deserts. Springer, Berlin, pp. 103-114.

Han, F.X., Banin, A. and Triplett, G.B. 2001Redistribution of heavy metals in arid-zone soils under wetting-drying cycle soil moisture regime. Soil Sci. 166, 18-28.

Teutsch, N., Erel, Y., Halicz, Y. and Banin, A. 2001The distribution of natural and anthropogenic lead in Mediterranean soils. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 65, 2853-2864.

Han, F.X., Banin, A., Su, Y., Monts, D.L., Poldinec, M.J., Kingery, W.L., Triplett, G.B. 2002Industrial age anthropogenic inputs of heavy metals in the pedosphere. Naturwissenschaften89, 497-504.

Ben-Dor, E., Patkin, K., Banin, A., Karnieli, A. 2002Mapping of several soil properties using DAIS-7915 hyperspectral scanner data - a case study over clayey soils in Israel. Intern. J. Remote Sensing 23(6), 1043-1062.

Han, F.X., Banin, A., Kingery, W.L. and Li, Z.P. 2002Pathways and kinetics of transformation of cobalt among solid-phase components in arid-zone soils. J. Environ. Sci. Health, Part A.37(2), 175-194.

Bishop, J.L., Banin, A., Mancinelli, R.L., and Klovstad, M.R. 2002Detection of soluble and fixed NH4+ in clay minerals by DTA and IR reflectance spectroscopy: A potential tool for planetary surface exploration. Planetary Space Sci. 50, 11-19.

Banin, A., Lin, C., Eshel, G., Roehl, K.E., Negev, I., Greenwald, D., Shachar, Y., Yablekovitch, Y.2002Geochemical processes in recharge basin soils used for municipal effluents reclamation by the soil-aquifer treatment (SAT) system. In: Dillon, P.J. (ed.) Management of Aquifer Recharge for Sustainability, Proc.4th Intern. Symp. Artificial Recharge (ISAR4) (ISBN: 90 5809 527 4) A.A. Blakema Publ., Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Eshel, G. and Banin, A. 2002Feasibility study of long-term continuous field measurement of soil redox potential. Commun. Soil Sci. Plant Anal. 33 (5 & 6), 695-710.

Han, F.X., Su, Y., Monts, D.L., Plodinec, M.J., Banin, A. and Triplett, G.B. 2003Assessment of global industrial-age anthropogenic arsenic contamination. Naturwissenschaften 90, 395-401.

Han, F.X., Banin, A., Kingery, W.L., Triplett, G.B., Zhou, L.X., Zheng, S.J. and Ding, W.X. 2003.New approach to studies of heavy metal redistribution in soil. Adv. Environ. Res. 8, 113-120.

Lin, C., Greenwald, D. and Banin, A. 2003Temperature dependence of infiltration rate during large scale water recharge into soils. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 67, 487-493.

Mancinelli, R.L. and Banin, A. 2003Where is the nitrogen on Mars? Intern. J. Astrobiology. 2, 217-225.

Lin, C., Shachar, Y. and Banin, A. 2004Heavy metal retention and partitioning in a large-scale soil-aquifer treatment (SAT) system used for wastewater reclamation. Chemosphere 57, 1047-1058.

Lin, C. and Banin, A. 2005Effect of long-term effluent recharge on phosphate sorption by soils in a wastewater reclamation plant. Water Air Soil Pollut. 164, 257-273.

Banin, A. 2005The enigma of the Martian soil. Science 309, 888-890. Enhanced online - (doi: 10.1126/science.1112794).

Lin, C., Eshel, G., Roehl, K.E., Negev, I., Greenwald, D., Shachar, Y. and Banin, A. 2006Studies of P accumulation in soil/sediment profiles used for large-scale wastewater reclamation. Soil Use and Management. 22, 143-150. (doi:10.1111/j.1475-2743.2006.00025.x).

Lin, C. and Banin, A. 2006Phosphorous retardation and breakthrough into well water in a soil-aquifer treatment (SAT) system used for large-scale wastewater reclamation. Water Res.40, 1507-1518.

See also: Amos_Banin