Advertisement

Field Scale Assessment of Artificial Topsoil: A Victorian Coal Mine Experience

  • Anna BirjakEmail author
  • Alena Walmsley
  • Nicole Anderson
  • Jon Missen
  • Mohan Yellishetty
Conference paper
Part of the Springer Series in Geomechanics and Geoengineering book series (SSGG)

Abstract

The Latrobe Valley is host to several open-cut coal mines which pose an environmental risk if poorly managed. To reduce risks associated with acid mine drainage and fire, progressive rehabilitation of batters is recommended. A lack of topsoil in the Latrobe Valley has led an industrial symbiosis to generate artificial topsoil’s (ATS). Based on previous experiments, three ATS were created by combining overburden (OB), brown coal (BC), fly ash (FA) and one of the two waste products from a local paper mill – Effluent Sewage Recovery (ESR) or Enviroshield (ES). The ATS were compared to a local topsoil (TS). The study analyzed the physical and chemical properties of the topsoil’s, seed germination and grass establishment. It was found that all ATS had similar properties and were alkaline compared to an acidic TS. The ATS were enriched in salts and found to be sodic to highly sodic and highly saline while TS was non-saline but slightly sodic. The ATS were also low in nitrogen and, due to the high pH of the soil, nutrients such as phosphorus, iron and manganese were not bioavailable. For the duration of the study, germination and grass establishment on ATS was not significant, however, grass was beginning to establish on the TS. As such, it is recommended further investigation be undertaken to determine an appropriate seed mix for the ATS which is tolerant to alkaline and saline soils. Further research is being conducted to determine the source of the alkalinity and salinity in the ATS.

Keywords

Artificial soil Coal mining Rehabilitation 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Craig Skinner and Jason Muldoon for their help in the field. This research was funded by AGL Loy Yang and Industry Linkage SEED Grant 2428459 of Faculty of Engineering, Monash University.

References

  1. 1.
    Agriculture Victoria: Salinity and the Growth of Forage Species (2008). http://agriculture.vic.gov.au/agriculture/farm-management/soil-and-water/salinity/salinity-and-the-growth-of-forage-species. Accessed 4 Apr 2018
  2. 2.
    Briat, J., Dubos, C., Gaymard, F.: Iron nutrition, biomass production, and plant product quality. Trends Plant Sci. 20(1), 33–40 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bureau of Meterology: Annual and monthly potential frost days (2016). http://www.bom.gov.au/jsp/ncc/climate_averages/frost/index.jsp?period=an&thold=lt2deg#maps. Accessed 5 Oct 2017
  4. 4.
    Bureau of Meterology: Climate statistics for Australian locations (2017). http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages/tables/cw_085280_All.shtml. Accessed 5 Oct 2017
  5. 5.
    de Caritat, P., Cooper, M., Wilfor, J.: The pH of Australian soils: field results from a national survey. Soil Res. 49(2), 173–182 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Evangelou, V.P., Zhang, Y.L.: A review: pyrite oxidation mechanisms and acid mine drainage prevention. Crit. Rev. Environ. Sci. Technol. 25(2), 141–199 (1995)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Farhat, N., Elkhouni, A., Zorrig, W., Smaoui, A., Abdelly, C., Rabhi, M.: Effects of magnesium deficiency on photosynthesis and carbohydrate partitioning. Acta Physiol. Plant. 38(6), 1–10 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Gourley, C.: Potassium. In: Peverill, K., Sparrow, L., Reuter, D. (eds.) Soil Analysis: An Interpretation Manual. CSIRO, Melbourne (1999)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Hopkins, B., Ellsworth, J.: Phosphorus availability with alkaline/calcareous soil. In: Western Nutrient Management Conference, vol. 6, pp. 88–93 (2005)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Hunt, N., Gilkes, R.: Farm Monitoring Handbook - A practical down-to-earth manual for farmers and other land users. University of Western Australia: Nedlands WA and Land Management Society: Como WA (1992)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Jones, C.: Effect of soil texture on critical bulk densities for root growth. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 47, 1028–1211 (1983)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Kirkby, E., Pilbeam, D.: Calcium as a plant nutrient. Plant, Cell Environ. 7(6), 397–405 (1984)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
  14. 14.
    Mulder, E., Gerretsen, F.: Soil manganese in relation to plant growth. Ind. Eng. Chem. 4, 221–277 (1952)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Mundodi, L.: Innovative Way to Mine Rehabilitation through Waste Utilization: A Case Study from Latrobe Valley. Monash University, Melbourne (2015)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Nesheim, L., Boller, N.: Nitrogen fixation by white clover when competing with grasses at moderately low temperatures. Plant Soil 133(1), 47–56 (1991)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Northcote, K., Skene, J.: Australia Soils with Saline and Sodic Properties. CSIRO, Canberra (1972)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Reid, R.: Understanding the Boron transport network in plants. Plant Soil 385(2), 1–13 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Rengasamy, P.: Transient salinity and subsoil constraints to dryland farming in Australian sodic soils: an overview. Aust. J. Exp. Agric. 42(3), 351–361 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Rengasamy, P.: World salinization with emphasis on Australia. J. Exp. Bot. 57(5), 1017–1023 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Rengasamy, P., Olsson, K.: Irrigation and sodicity. Aust. J. Soil Res. 31(9), 821–837 (1993)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    State Government of Victoria (2014) Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry, State Government of Victoria, VictoriaGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Taylor, M., Yellishetty, M., Panther, B.C.: Geotechnical and hydrogeological evaluation of artificial soils to remediate acid mine drainage and improve mine rehabilitation - an australian case study. In: Drebenstedt, C., Singhal, R. (eds.) Mine Planning and Equipment Selection. Springer, Cham (2014)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Victorian Government: Map of Victorian Sodic Soils (2014). http://vro.agriculture.vic.gov.au/dpi/vro/vrosite.nsf/pages/grains-soil-map-victoria. Accessed 25 Apr 2018
  25. 25.
    Victorian Government: Surface Soil pH (2015). http://vro.agriculture.vic.gov.au/dpi/vro/vrosite.nsf/pages/vic-soil_surface-soil-ph_map. Accessed 23 Mar 2018
  26. 26.
    Victorian Government: Victoria’s Salinity Provinces (2017). http://vro.agriculture.vic.gov.au/dpi/vro/vrosite.nsf/pages/lwm_salinity-provinces. Accessed 25 Apr 2018
  27. 27.
    Wershaw, R.: Model for humus in soils and sediments. Environ. Sci. Technol. 27(5), 814–816 (1993)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    White, J., Broadley, R.: Calcium in plants. Ann. Bot. 92(4), 487–511 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Zhao, D., Reddy, K., Kakani, K., Reddy, V.: Nitrogen deficiency effects on plant growth, leaf photosynthesis, and hyperspectral reflectance properties of sorghum. Eur. J. Agron. 22(4), 391–403 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Zörb, C., Senbayram, M., Peiter, E.: Potassium in agriculture – status and perspectives. J. Plant Physiol. 171(9), 656–669 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna Birjak
    • 1
    Email author
  • Alena Walmsley
    • 1
  • Nicole Anderson
    • 2
  • Jon Missen
    • 2
  • Mohan Yellishetty
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.AGL Loy YangLoy YangAustralia

Personalised recommendations