Acidity generated from the oxidation of pyrite and other sulphidic compounds that exist at shallow depths in acid sulphate soils (ASS) presents a challenging environmental problem in coastal Australia. The generated acidic groundwater can adversely impact coastal ecosystems, aquaculture and agriculture. Groundwater manipulation using weirs and modified floodgates in creeks and flood mitigation drains in ASS-affected farmland, which has been practiced for over a decade for preventing pyrite oxidation, is not effective in low-lying floodplains due to the high risk of flooding. In this paper, the authors present an overview of their experience in coastal Australia, a critical evaluation of currently practiced geo-environmental remediation methods as well as a demonstration of a pilot permeable reactive barrier (PRB) to control acidic groundwater pollution. The selection of recycled concrete, a commonly available alkaline waste material, and the systematic investigation of its longevity are highlighted through a series of batch and column experiments. In addition, the improvement of the groundwater quality by a pilot PRB using recycled concrete in ASS terrain within the Shoalhaven region of NSW, Australia will be elucidated based on field data collected over the last 3.5 years.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/long_nghiem/58/