Managing Acid Sulfate Soils

Without careful management, disturbing acid sulfate soils can have serious downstream environmental, economic, engineering and health impacts, and can restrict development, construction and agriculture in affected areas.

Environmental Earth Sciences has significant experience in developing site plans to effectively manage the potential risk associated with Acid Sulfate Soils. When removed from a site, acid sulfate soils are classified as waste and can have significant cost implications for disposal with the potential to considerably impact the financial outcome of a project.

CASE STUDY – Sumatra, Indonesia

We were engaged to provide technical advice, as well as input into the development of control and management systems for a 10,000-hectare agricultural plantation in Sumatra, Indonesia, which was completely underlain by acid sulfate soil.

We carried out site inspections to gain a solid understanding of the site. From these inspections, mitigation strategies and monitoring programs were developed to manage the potential effects of the acid sulfate soil on crop yields. and the environment.

The site was developed by creating an external bund and installing a complex series of water gates and drains around 25-hectare plots to rapidly drain rainfall runoff and suppress water tables. Environmental Earth Sciences redesigned the drains so that acid sulfate soil layers were not dug up or dewatered, or where excavation of acid sulfate soil was unavoidable, the material was reburied. This process ensured safe management of agricultural resources and protection of the surrounding environment.

Following the work completed by Environmental Earth Sciences, a significant improvement in water quality both on and offsite, as well as revegetation of previous acid scalds has been observed. This improvement in managing any runoff from the acid sulfate soils significantly reduced the impact on local ecosystems.

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