Quantification of current and future leaching of sulfur and metals from Boreal acid sulfate soils, western Finland

Peter Österholm*, Mats Åström

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


The leaching of sulfur (S) and metals (Al, Ca, Cd, Co, Cu, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, Ni, Zn) from an acid sulfate soil (ASS) area in western Finland was determined on the basis of hydrochemical analyses (ICP-MS) of water samples collected monthly for 3 years from the stream draining that area. The average annual amount of leaching was as follows (kg/ha.year): S (633), Ca (281), Mg (199), Al (54), K (54), Mn (35), Fe (5.6), Zn (1.7), Ni (0.84), Co (0.79), Cu (0.070), Cd (0.0068). These high values are due to extensive oxidation of metal sulfides and weathering of minerals in the ASS profile. Calculations showed that other S inputs such as deposition and fertiliser use, and S outputs such as degassing and plant removal, are insignificant in comparison with current leaching losses. Before the area was artificially drained, the leaching losses of S from the study area must have been very small; otherwise, the S residual in the soil would have been depleted a long time ago. With current drainage practices, the leachable soil S residual will be halved in roughly 30 years, after which the S and metal loads of the drainage will have decreased. However, more time is needed before the concentrations will have decreased to an environmentally acceptable level, unless environmentally friendly measures are found and implemented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)547-551
Number of pages5
JournalAustralian Journal of Soil Research
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - 2004
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Drainage
  • Hydrogeochemistry
  • Rate of leaching
  • Runoff


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