Acid sulfate soils in the CLLMM

When water levels in the region were at their lowest in March 2009, up to 20,000 hectares of acid sulfate soils were exposed in the Lower Lakes region.

The main way to prevent acidification is to ensure acid sulfate soils are kept wet and not exposed to air. Managing water levels in the Lower Lakes is one way that acid sulfate soils are being addressed.

Bacteria in the soil can reverse the process of acid sulfate soils forming sulfuric acid and help return the contaminated environments to a healthy state. This is called bioremediation. The bacteria use iron and organic matter, as well as sulfate in the acid to do this.

Plants can provide organic matter and iron to the soil, which are needed by the bacteria, so planting vegetation can help bioremediation take place. If the water is too acidic then the bacteria will struggle. Adding finely ground limestone can neutralise acid released from exposed soils, also helping bioremediation to take place.

For more information about acid sulfate soils in the region, download the Ecological consequences of managing water levels to prevent acidification in Lakes Alexandrina and Albert report:

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