Acid Sulfate Soil Short Courses
Courses will be included on the 2013 program according to demand.
To express an interest in any future course, please email organiser - Chrisy Clay
Background to the course
Acid sulfate soils have been called the 'nastiest' soils in the world.
When disturbed, they oxidise to produce sulfuric acid and can release a range of toxic elements such as aluminium, iron and arsenic. This can impact upon the surrounding environment, downstream waterways and nearby infrastructure.
Across Australia, legislation has been progressively introduced to ensure that the disturbance of acid sulfate soils during development, is appropriately managed to reduce these impacts.
In most instances, when development is proposed on a site containing acid sulfate soils, an Acid Sulfate Soil Management Plan is required to accompany the development application.
Up until now, there has been little or no training available to professionals dealing with acid sulfate soils. A professional short course in the identification, assessment and management of acid sulfate soils was developed by Southern Cross GeoScience to address this need.
With the assistance of Caring for our Country, Southern Cross GeoScience's professional short course on acid sulfate soils has been delivered across the country. The course, which was initially piloted in both northern NSW and Queensland, has now run at least once in every state and territory.
Demand for the course has steadily built during the Caring for our Country project, to the point where wait lists now exist for most locations. To meet the increasing demand and interest in the course, Southern Cross GeoScience will continue the run short course program. Courses will now be run on demand, and people wanting to attend future courses are encouraged to register their interest with organiser Chrisy Clay.
What does the course cover?
The course covers how to prepare and assess an Acid Sulfate Soil Management Plan. It is designed for professionals such as consultants, engineers, contractors, scientists, environmental officers, and planners who regularly deal with acid sulfate soils during development.
Developed in conjunction with the relevant regulatory authorities in each jurisdiction, the training program equips participants with the skills, knowledge and confidence to meet their legislative responsibilities when developing or assessing an Acid Sulfate Soil Management Plan.
The course is led by Professor Leigh Sullivan, one of Australia's leading acid sulfate soil scientists. A range of scientists and practitioners, experienced in the identification, assessment, and management of acid sulfate soil materials will also help deliver the course.
The course runs for two days and includes lectures, practical exercises, a field excursion, morning and afternoon refreshments, and lunches.
Day 1 - Introduction to acid sulfate soils.
On the first day participants are introduced to the issue of acid sulfate soils: what it is, where it exists and why it is important to manage. We also cover how acid sulfate soil materials are regulated, identifying the legal responsibilities of project proponents and assessors. How to conduct a desktop and preliminary assessment is discussed, and there is a field excursion to local acid sulfate soil sites. During the excursion, appropriate techniques for sampling acid sulfate soil materials will be demonstrated.
Day 2 - Assessment and management of acid sulfate soils and how to prepare an Acid Sulfate Soil Management Plan.
During the second day we examine the assessment of acid sulfate soil materials. Participants work through a practical exercise on interpreting the results of both field and laboratory analysis, which includes calculating an acid base account and liming requirements. Also on day two, we look at how acid sulfate soils can be managed if disturbance is unavoidable and what strategies can be put in place to ensure minimal impact on the environment and nearby infrastructure. Participants finally work through, in detail, the different elements of an Acid Sulfate Soil Management Plan. Information requirements are discussed and an example of a detailed Acid Sulfate Soil Management Plan is presented step by step.
Is this course for me?
Participants should note that the course is not a general introduction to the issue of acid sulfate soils, and is specifically designed for professionals with at least a basic understanding of the issue. We have found the course is best suited to those who are actively involved in the field, who need training to further develop their knowledge and skills.
The course, unless otherwise stated, is also specific to the state where it is being held. Participants from inter-state need to be aware that sections on legislation, desktop and preliminary assessment as well as management plan requirements will differ depending on where the course is being held.
Finally, the course specifically focuses on managing the disturbance of acid sulfate soils during coastal development. Whilst other participants are likely to find the course useful, it is specifically designed for people developing and assessing applications for disturbance.
What makes this course valuable?
- The course has been developed in conjunction with relevant regulatory authorities. This ensures plans are prepared in a way that will expedite and simplify the approval process. These regulatory authorities are specific to each state.
- Southern Cross GeoScience courses have small groups that allow greater opportunity for open discussion and questions among participants. This has proven valuable as the problems facing any one participant often have been already faced and solved by other course participants.
- The content of each course is adapted to suit the legislative framework of each state or territory. In addition, different areas often have different acid sulfate soils characteristics that must be taken into consideration.
What the participants have to say
To date, courses have run in every state and the Northern Territory. Participant feedback from each of the courses has been extremely positive. Even professionals that have been in the industry for many years gained a clearer understanding of how to assess and manage acid sulfate soils along with how to prepare and assess management plans.
Sydney, NSW (April, 2011)
"A very thorough course, well defined goals/objectives that were thoroughly achieved. Thanks!"
"The course was very useful and very well run and relevant to a diverse industry group."
"The presenters were fantastic and extremely knowledgeable."
"The usual confronting chemistry/technical aspects were easily managed and understood."
"I found the whole course beneficial, the field trip, Leigh's presentations and the calculations were all great."
Gold Coast, Qld (June, 2011)
"I felt that l really learnt a lot and wish l could come and do another course on ASS."
"Well run, good coverage of topic. Enjoyed the easy approach of presenters."
"Excellent training material, and great practical examples."
"The content of the talks worked really well together, and flowed nicely."
"Not often that you attend a course where you are attentive for the whole time, even when discussing chemistry! Each session covered enough information and was timely in delivery."
Updated: 12 December 2012