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Course targets hazardous soils


Brigid Veale
8 December 2009
Council officers and other professionals involved in managing coastal developments are taking part in a three-day training course on acid sulfate soil assessment and management run by Southern Cross GeoScience.

The professional development course is being held at the Ramada Hotel and Suites, Ballina from today (December 8) until Thursday.

Southern Cross GeoScience, a Special Research Centre at Southern Cross University, has been funded through the Australian Government’s Caring for our Country program to deliver the course across Australia.

Professor Leigh Sullivan and Professor Richard Bush, two leading experts in the field of acid sulfate soil management and remediation and the co-directors of Southern Cross Geoscience, will be presenting along with representatives from NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water and the private consultancy firm, Environmental Earth Sciences.

“Acid sulfate soil is a naturally occurring sediment, common throughout coastal Australia,” Professor Sullivan said.

“Distributed in low lying areas, the soils can become hazardous when excavated and exposed to oxygen. Once exposed, the soils oxidise to produce acids and toxic elements such as iron, aluminium and arsenic that can impact upon the environment and nearby infrastructure. Major fish kills in our rivers have been caused by inappropriate management of these soils.

“This course will equip professionals with the skills and knowledge to manage these hazardous soils.”

Professor Sullivan said it was expected the professional development course, to be run in each state and territory, would deliver better environmental outcomes for coastal areas.

The course is designed for consultants who prepare management plans and council officers charged with assessing management plans.

For information about the work of Southern Cross GeoScience visit the website

Photo: Professor Leigh Sullivan will be presenting at a course on acid sulfate soils being run this week.