The Acid Sulfate Soils Centre (ASSC) has successfully conducted a wide range of consulting and contract research projects for government, business and industry.

Contact us about contract research or consulting projects to help your business needs.


The ASSC offers a wide range of services to meet your needs. We pride ourselves on our independence and impartiality, and have strict quality assurance procedures. Our facilities include state of the art Acid Sulfate soil laboratories that have been specifically designed to operate in accordance with accepted industry standards.

We provide expert opinion and review on acid sulfate soil issues, and can help you in a range of areas including undertaking soil survey investigation (pedological: soil morphological descriptions, classification and mapping (GIS) of a wide range of  acid sulfate soils (Coastal, Inland and Mine site acid sulfate soils), geochemical, soil chemical, soil physical, water quality, hydrological, organic matter and mineralogical analysis.

As well as providing excellence and leadership in their respective fields in Australia, the ASSC partners have also played a pivotal role in international acid sulfate soil science capacity building initiatives through the provision of training, education, equipment, infrastructure and expertise to several countries /nations across the world including Iraq, Kuwait, China, Brunei, Vietnam, South Africa, Indonesia and USA.

Examples of key areas and projects

  • Coastal planning and development controls

    The South Australian government has responded to the challenge of managing coastal ASS environments in South Australia by introducing planning and development controls for coastal ASS through the Coast Protection Board (CPB). These controls and guidelines, along with some examples of remediation techniques trialled at Gillman, can be found in the Guidelines and Risk Assessment Criteria of Coast Protection Board (2003) and cited web link.  The Atlas of Australian Acid Sulfate Soils will assist in refining and updating ASS maps in the Gulf St Vincent to enable informed risk management, both in terms of the maintenance of existing development, and the assessment of future development proposals.

    Coast Protection Board (CPB) (2003) A strategy for implementing CPB policies on coastal acid sulfate soils in South Australia. Coastline 33, 1-11. (accessed: September 2012).

    Inland ASS

    A manual was developed in consultation with farmers in the Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges in South Australia (Fitzpatrick et al. 1997; 2003) and the Woorndoo district in Victoria (Cox et al. 1999) to assist them in recognising, mapping and managing inland ASS features on their properties. The two manuals include a diagnostic field key of visual indicators with on-farm management options and are designed to be useful tools to support farmers in assessment and decision making. ASS seminars and field days for farmers were held to build their capacity to effectively assess and manage ASS and to demonstrate how they could use the manuals in their own situations.

    See Cox et al. (1999), Fitzpatrick et al. (1997, 2003a, 2011), Thomas et al. (2016).

  • Environmental risk assessment and management

    The ASSC is highly experienced in undertaking complex environmental risk assessments for government and private organisations. The advice has been relied upon for management of several major risks to ecosystems, agriculture and drinking water supplies (e.g. Lower Lakes and Lower River Murray acidification risks and management for SA State Government, SA Water, Department for Environment, and the Murray-Darling Basin Authority - see our publications).

    The ASSC with several industry partners has also recently completed a major project titled “Sustaining irrigation and soil condition under changing climate and land use in Lower Murray irrigation areas (LMRIA)” funded by PIRSA via the South Australian River Murray Sustainability – Industry-led Research Sub-Program (SARMS-IRSP). Using field research and modelling we developed strategies to improve irrigation efficiencies, reduce drainage volumes, prevent major acid sulfate soil and water quality impacts, maintain groundwater levels and soil moisture, and remediate salinised land under changing climate and land-use patterns into the future. See Fitzpatrick et al. (2017) for more details.

  • Salt field remediation

    The ASSC has conducted research at the Dry Creek salt fields and adjacent mangrove swamps to provide the State Government and salt field owners strategic advice on the ASS  risks and management strategies in the Dry Creek mining tenements – by continuing research in all salt ponds to: (i) to assess the complex range of  ASS materials, (ii) construct detailed ASS maps, (iii) construct ASS acidification / monosulfidic material hazard maps, (iv) construct detailed topographic maps (LiDAR via Flinders University), (v) construct detailed bathymetric and sub-surface layer maps (via  CSIRO) and (vi) investigate tidal cycling to remediate hazardous iron monosulfide-rich sediments.

  • Wetland management

    The ASSC has assisted wetland managers to understand and manage acid sulfate soils, in particular in the wetlands of the Murray-Darling Basin.

    For example, to underpin sustainable management options at the Banrock Station Wetland the ASSC has continuing research to improve the understanding of changes in acid sulfate soil properties and soil organic carbon during periods of further environmental rewetting and drying in order to better quantify: (i) temporal and spatial variations of ASS and (ii) hazards and impacts caused by acid sulfate soils. See Fitzpatrick et al. (2016) and Jayalath et al. (2016) for more details.

  • Optic fibre cable risk assessment

    The ASSC has developed an “Improved Soil Assessment Manuals for Recognition of Australian Soils (including Acid Sulfate Soils) with Potential to cause Faults in Optical Fibre Cables”. The outcomes of this project will lead to reduced impacts and costs to the fibre optic cable industry. See Fitzpatrick et al. (2014, 2015) for more details.

  • Mineral exploration

    Several areas in the Eastern Mt Lofty Ranges, especially near Mt Torrens were investigated by CSIRO (e.g. Fitzpatrick et al. 1996) and CRC LEME where seeps and soil leachates in this region were found to contain elevated concentrations of dissolved iron, aluminium, and sulfate.   This information was used as indicators for mineral exploration (Skwarnecki & Fitzpatrick 2003, 2008; Skwarnecki et al. 2002; Fitzpatrick & Skwarnecki 2005).