Many soils in Australia can become acidic when disturbed and exposed to the air. This can cause major environmental damage, in some cases resulting in unusable land and water and loss of wildlife.
This is a risk in both urban and agricultural settings. Housing construction, infrastructure projects, dredging, mining, grazing and cropping, can lower water tables exposing underlying soil to air.
Acid sulfate soil contains iron sulfide, a compound that oxidises to sulfuric acid upon exposure to air. Sulfuric acid corrodes concrete, iron and steel and structures containing these materials such as pillars, building foundations and underground sewerage pipes are at danger of being structurally weakened. When leached from soils, sulfuric acid can also alter the acidity of environmental waters. From fish kills through to the suffocation of seagrass, aquatic flora and fauna are also affected.
In Australia, nearly 40,000 square kilometres of low-lying coastal regions possess acid sulfate soils. Proper investigations and measures are therefore critical in minimising impact to the environment. We help you protect the environment by providing the analytical information to support sustainable development.
Onsite, ChemCentre performs surveys and assessments of sites for reactive soils containing sulfidic and sulfuric substances and Monosulfidic Black Ooze (MBO), while back in our laboratory, comprehensive analysis of primarily soil acidity, as well as characterisation and content of sulfur species by the Suspension POCAS method.
For mining and resources projects, you may also be interested in our Acid Mine Drainage services.