Acid soil just first shot in local politics

The Examiner recently reported about a blow-up regarding some alleged acid sulphate soil to be used for a BMX track.

Stock photo of BMX riders. Picture: Getty Images

Stock photo of BMX riders. Picture: Getty Images

I have an interest in this area as I have managed the issue on a very large scale in soils and rocks in the Bulahdelah area.

In considering whether this was indeed an issue, I consulted the freely available Port Stephens Council and state government's acid sulphate soil maps.

I also revisited my own learnings from the project I worked on as well as other publications dealing with acid sulphate soils.

The maps I looked at show that the source site is not expected to have acid sulphate soil at all.

The soil is from a non-coastal location, away from any estuarine or saline environment and well above any flood level.

It is not grey or green and it doesn't smell like rotten eggs - all typical indicators.

I suspect the soil pH is more alkaline than the published literacy for acid soil, though testing could confirm.

So the kids should get their bike track and Port Stephens ratepayers won't foot the bill to send inert, suitable soil to the tip at a rate of $255 per tonne.

But I think we can safely assume that the trigger has been pulled on the politics of the Local Government election.

Ben Niland



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