National Acid Sulfate Soils Guidance - Identification and Assessment Professional Short Course

The Environmental Analysis Laboratory and Southern Cross GeoScience are offering a short course for professionals responsible for assessing and managing acid sulfate soils, in accordance with the National Acid Sulfate Soils Guidance (2018).

The program is designed for professionals such as consultants, engineers, contractors, scientists, environmental officers and planners.

The course includes a series of presentations from leading academics and practitioners, practical exercises examining real-life examples and a field excursion to local acid sulfate soil sites. The training program follows the five stages required in a full acid sulfate soil investigation process. It is designed to equip participants with the skills, knowledge and confidence to assess acid sulfate soils in a variety of landscapes. Participants should note the course is specifically designed for professionals with at least a basic understanding of the issues.

The course will be led by Dr Nick Ward and Graham Lancaster, co-authors of these national guidance documents. Leading researchers Professors Ed Burton and Scott Johnston (SCGS), and practitioners including Nadia Toppler (EAL), Dr Dave Morand (NSW Office of Environment and Heritage), Michael Wood (Michael Wood and Associates) and Dr Mark Rosicky (SCGS), experienced in the identification and assessment of acid sulfate soil materials, will also help deliver the course.

The course has now run four times over the past year to positive review:

“Presenters were well educated and knowledgeable on ASS but were good at communicating the science and legislation. I originally thought it was a bit expensive but after attending the course it is good value for money!”

“Having people from labs, unis, regulators and consultants made for many different views which was helpful. The calculations were also very useful!”

“Quality technical and practical course.”

“The course was well presented with great content. Will be requesting others from my team attend future sessions."

 "Thank you so much for a very informative course. Learnt lots! Will be in contact with you as questions come up."

Due to COVID related border closures, the October course in Perth has been re-scheduled for 17-18 March, 2022. The course costs $1500 (including GST). Early bird tickets are now available at $1400 (including GST) if paid by 13 February, 2022. Places are limited to 30 participants per course. Please register interest to secure a place for the Perth course.

A Gold Coast course is now being advertised for 12-13 May, 2022. The early bird tickets for this course are available until 17 April, 2022. The register of interest is now open for the Gold Coast course.

Please contact if you are interested in attending the Perth or Gold Coast courses.

Course Overview

Day 1: Introduction to acid sulfate soils and the new national guidance documents for identification and sampling

The first day covers the issue of acid sulfate soils: what they are, where they exist and why they are important to manage. The implications of the new National Acid Sulfate Soils Guidance on assessment of these materials is discussed. The process of desktop assessment and sampling is examined.

A field excursion to local acid sulfate soil sites will demonstrate appropriate techniques for sampling acid sulfate soil materials.

Day 2: Laboratory assessment, using the new national guidance documents, and management of acid sulfate soil materials

The second day examines the use of laboratory assessment of acid sulfate soil materials and the reporting of Net Acidity. A practical exercise on interpreting the results of field and laboratory analysis will include calculating an acid base account and liming requirements. Management options will be outlined for acid sulfate soil materials where disturbance is unavoidable. An overview and management of monosulfidic black ooze (MBO) accumulations in waterways and wetlands will also be provided.


Dr Nick Ward

Dr Nick Ward is currently a Technical Officer at Southern Cross GeoScience, Southern Cross University, and assists the Environmental Analysis Laboratory (EAL) as a consultant. Nick is co-author of a number of the 2018 National acid sulfate soil guidance documents. He first got involved with acid sulfate soils in 1998 when he started a PhD examining the process of sulfide oxidation in these materials.

Nick has been involved in a number of projects assessing the potential hazard acid sulfate soil materials pose in wetland, channel systems and lakes in the Murray-Darling Basin.

Further details

Dr Nicholas Ward

Graham Lancaster

Graham Lancaster has been the Founding Manager/Director of the Environmental Analysis Laboratory (EAL) at Southern Cross University since 1992, and is co-author of a number of the 2018 National acid sulfate soil guidance documents. Graham has been highly involved in the laboratory assessment of acid sulfate soils since the mid-1990s. He also has an interest into Acid Sulfate soils research, environmental contamination, and Biological and Organic Farming in relation to soil management and sustainable agricultural practices.

Further details

Graham Lancaster

Nadia Toppler

Nadia Toppler is a Senior Analyst at the Environmental Analysis Laboratory (EAL), Southern Cross University. Nadia has been the co-ordinator of the acid sulfate soil and physical soil testing sections since 2007 and is co-author of a number of the 2018 National acid sulfate soil guidance documents. Nadia completed an honours degree in acid sulfate soil chemistry at the University of New South Wales and undertook PhD studies at Southern Cross University.

Further details


Professor Scott Johnston

Professor Scott Johnston is a Research Fellow and Deputy Director at Southern Cross GeoScience, Southern Cross University. Scott’s research explores geochemical and hydrological processes that control water quality and sediment geochemistry. He has worked closely with industry, state and local governments to develop and refine a variety of techniques for remediating highly degraded acid sulfate soil wetlands. Scott has published numerous scientific articles in relation to his acid sulfate soil research.

Further details

Professor Scott Johnston

Professor Ed Burton

Professor Ed Burton is a Research Fellow and Deputy Director at Southern Cross GeoScience, Southern Cross University. Ed’s research focuses on how mineral evolution controls the mobility and fate of various elements in soils, sediments and groundwater systems (including acid sulfate soil landscapes). He has a specific interest in the redox cycling of iron and sulfur, and how this affects trace metals and metalloids (with a recent focus on arsenic, antimony and chromium). Ed is highly published in the field of acid sulfate soil research.

Further details

Professor Ed Burton

Dr Niloofar Karimain

Dr Niloofar Karimian is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Southern Cross GeoScience, Southern Cross University. Niloofar’s research focuses on the biogeochemical processes that control the bioavailability and mobilization of trace metals and metalloids (e.g. arsenic, antimony and chromium) in acid sulfate soil and acid mine drainage affected environments. For her PhD she examined iron, sulfur and trace metals geochemistry during redox oscillations in freshwater re-flooded acid sulfate soil wetlands at Southern Cross GeoScience.

Further details...

A photograph of Niloofar Karimian

Dr Dave Morand, CPSS

Dr Dave Morand, CPSS is a Senior Scientist in the Land and Soil Assessment team at the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment in Alstonville. He has also worked on soil surveys of the United Arab Emirates. Dave has been a soil scientist with the NSW government since 1990 and is a Certified Professional Soil Scientist (CPSS). Dave has undertaken acid sulfate soil risk and hazard mapping including assessment of inland acid sulfate soils of the Murray/Murrumbidgee. For his PhD he examined the pedology and geomorphology of the Northern Rivers catchments in north-eastern NSW.

Further details

A photograph of David Morand

Michael Wood

Michael Wood has spent the past 20 years working with councils, rural industries, state agencies and land holders in acid sulfate soil management, water quality, flood risk, estuary, river and land management, aimed at creating a safer and sustainable environment for the community and the next generation. Michael is principal consultant at Michael Wood and Associates – environmental and floodplain management specialists.

Floodplain management and Further details (LinkedIn)


Dr Mark Rosicky

Dr Mark Rosicky is currently the Manager, Laboratory and Technical Services in the School of Environment, Science and Engineering, Southern Cross University; he is also the Laboratory Manager at Southern Cross GeoScience. Mark first got involved with acid sulfate soils in 1998 when he started a PhD examining acid sulfate soil scalds on the east coast of Australia, and currently assists with the undergraduate teaching of acid sulfate soils.

Further details