Resources - Acid sulfate soils


On 21 September 2015, responsibility for water policy and resources was transferred to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources - Administrative Arrangement Order made on 21 September 2015.

This website will be updated to reflect these changes.

Terms frequently used in literature about acid sulfate soils

Potential acid sulfate soils (PASS)
soils or sediments that contain sulfides with the potential to oxidise and become severely acidic.
Actual acid sulfate soils (AASS)
soils or sediments that once contained sulfides but that have oxidised and become severely acidic.
Monosulfidic black oozes (MBOs)/monosulfidic material
lightweight, gel-like material that is highly chemically reactive. MBOs are often found in the bottom of permanently submerged wetlands, drains and waterways affected by salinity.
Sulfidic material
similar meaning to PASS but a more precise definition of soil containing detectable levels of sulfide minerals.
Sulfuric material
similar meaning to AASS but a more precise definition of material with a pH of 4 or lower due to sulfide oxidation.
an iron sulfide mineral that is a common component of sulfidic material.

More information

For complete definitions of these and other terms see:

Agencies responsible for information and direction on acid sulfate soils

Links to contact details and further information
Agency name Subject specific information
Australian Government
Department of the Environment Acid sulfate soils topic page
Murray-Darling Basin Authority Acid sulfate soils
National Water Commission Minimising damage from water recovery
Department of Agriculture  
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Acid sulfate soils: mapping the risk
Geoscience Australia Preliminary soil pH map of Australia
New South Wales
Department of Premier and Cabinet -
Office of Environment and Heritage
Environmental issues > Soil degradation > Acid sulfate soils
Department of Trade and Investment

Soil health and fertility > Acid sulfate soils

Soil Conservation Service > Soil and water testing

Northern Territory
Department of Land Resource Management
Department of Natural Resources and Mines Acid Sulfate Soils
South Australia
Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources

Conservation > Rivers & wetlands >Coorong, Lower Lakes & Murray Mouth region > Acid sulfate soils

Conservation > Coastal & marine > Coastal acid sulfate soils

EPA South Australia
Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment Managing Our Natural Resources > Land Management & Soils > Soil Management > Acid Sulfate Soils
EPA Tasmania Tasmanian Coastal Works Manual - Guideline 11.2 - Acid Sulphate Soils
Department of Sustainability and Environment Coasts & Marine > Coasts > Coastal Acid Sulfate Soil Strategy
Department of Primary Industries Victorian Resources Online > Soil > Coastal Acid Sulfate Soils
EPA Victoria Industrial Waste Management Policy (Waste Acid Sulfate Soils)
Western Australia
Department of Environment and Conservation  
Department of Water Understanding water > Rivers and estuaries > Threats and risks to waterways > Aquatic impacts of acid sulfate soils

National Committee for Acid Sulfate Soils

The National Committee for Acid Sulfate Soils (NatCASS) is one of the mechanisms by which the Australian, state and territory governments, research institutions and industry are working together to address acid sulfate soil issues.

NatCASS meets twice a year to share information and to work on implementing the National Strategy for the Management of Acid Sulfate Soils.

Guidelines, Tools, Training and other resources

Links to resources on the topic of Acid Sulfate soils
Resource name Description
General information
ASSAY National newsletter providing information about current acid sulfate soil issues
Catalyst -
Saving acid wetlands
Fire, Flood and Acid Mud
Episodes of the ABC Television program Catalyst featuring acid sulfate soil
Atlas of Australian Acid Sulfate Soils Provides nationally consistent data and information on acid sulfate soils
OzCoasts - Acid sulfate soils Information about issues for Australia's coast
Assessment and Management
National Guidance for the Management of Acid Sulfate Soils in Inland Aquatic Ecosystems This document is designed to guide the identification and management of inland acid sulfate soils to reduce or eliminate the risks they pose to the Australian environment and its economy
Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre Action Support Tool The tool is designed to assist on-ground managers deal with sulfidic sediments in inland aquatic ecosystems
National Water Quality Management Strategy Provides national guidelines on water quality management
National Strategy for the Management of Coastal Acid Sulfate Soils This strategy provides assistance in coordinated management in coastal environments
Managing Acid and Metalliferous Drainage Handbook This handbook provides best practice management guidance for the Australian context
Global Acid Rock Drainage Guide Provides best practice management guidance for mining operations and is developed by an industry group, International Network for Acid Protection
Research and training
Southern Cross Geoscience Conducts research and runs professional short courses on acid sulfate soil identification, assessment and management
Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre A multi-disciplinary research centre which conducts work on acid sulfate soils