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Acid sulfate soils

Acid sulfate soils (ASS) occur naturally in Western Australia and are harmless when left in a waterlogged, undisturbed environment.

However, when exposed to air, through drainage or excavation, the iron sulfides in the soils react with oxygen and water to produce iron compounds and sulfuric acid.  This acid can release other substances, including heavy metals, from the soil and into the surrounding environment and waterways.

Activities with the potential to disturb ASS must be managed carefully to avoid serious environmental harm.

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