Soil Research Soil Research Society
Soil, land care and environmental research

Effect of polyacrylamide additions on infiltration and erosion of disturbed lands

C. A. Vacher, R. J. Loch and S. R. Raine

Australian Journal of Soil Research 41(8) 1509 - 1520
Published: 22 December 2003


The removal of vegetation and disturbance of the soil surface due to a range of human activities results in the potential for soil structure degradation and sediment movement. Polyacrylamides have been used to improve infiltration and reduce erosion on agricultural lands. However, they are not commonly used as part of management and rehabilitation programs on land disturbed by construction or mining activities in Australia. A study was undertaken to investigate the potential for polyacrylamides to improve infiltration and reduce erosion of soil material from 3 Australian mine sites. The polyacrylamides were found to significantly (P < 0.05) increase total infiltration under rainfall, reduce surface hardness, and reduce sediment entrainment and erosion by both rainfall and overland flows. The effectiveness of the polyacrylamide was found to be related to clay content of the soil as well as the molecular weight and charge density of the polyacrylamide. The implications of these results for the management and rehabilitation of disturbed lands are discussed.

Keywords: sediment, rehabilitation, stabilisation.

© CSIRO 2003

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