That should have been the headline in today's Standard Speaker article about Hazleton Creek Properties.
In its latest "Chicken Little" attack on Hazleton Creek Properties efforts to rid our landscape of a mine scarred area a bogus claim of pH alteration is highlighted by Geologist Robert Gadinski. To the general public Gadinski's claims seem credible but trust me on this one, this report is nothing more than political hype as evidenced by the last sentence in the Standard Speaker article.
Bob, let's have a frank discussion on chemistry, soil pH, bicarbonates, salts..ohh you remeber this course don't you?
This information comes from the International Plant Nutrition Institute.
Seasonal variation in soil test results is real…and has been recognized by soil scientists for more than four decades. Sizeable fluctuations in soil test levels can occur seasonally (monthly) and are associated with changes in soil temperature and moisture, soil microbial activity, crop residue decomposition, clay mineralogy, and nutrient cycling. Shallow soil samples (0 to 2, or 0 to 4 in.) may be more susceptible to seasonal fluctuations in test results than samples collected from deeper depths.
How much variation can be expected across seasons, within a year?
Soil pH—can vary as much as ,U>0.5 to 1 pH units on poorly buffered soils, especially on the coarser textured soils. Soil pH is usually lower in dry periods and higher in wet conditions.
Extractable soil phosphorus—-may be more stable than soil pH and extractable potassium in the majority of soils. Under prolonged flooding, phosphorus associated with iron complexes can be released. When soils dry, phosphorus can be bound tightly in iron and aluminum complexes, which lowers availability to plants. Seasonal variation can be as much as 10 to 20 pounds per acre or 5 to 10 parts per million (ppm).
Extractable soil potassium—-can be affected by soil freezing and thawing, and wide variations in soil moisture. Under very dry conditions, and upon freezing, certain clay minerals can release potassium from their mineral structure. Upon re-wetting, the potassium may be bound in the clay structure. In some high clay soils, the seasonal variation can be as much as 20 to 50 pounds per acre, or 10 to 25 ppm. Older, more highly weathered soils, most often found in the southern states, may be less likely to show strong seasonal variations in extractable potassium levels. Yet, seasonal variation in extractable potassium in sandy soils can be large.
Extractable soil sulfate and nitrate—are affected by microbial activity. Release of ammonium and nitrate-nitrogen and sulfate-sulfur from organic matter slows in dry soils. Existing nitrate levels can decline when soils are saturated for extended periods, especially during warm weather. Unlike nitrate, sulfate-sulfur is not prone to atmospheric losses during saturated conditions. Soil nitrate and sulfate levels can vary more than two-fold seasonally.
One can also view this article from the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Seasonal Variability of Soil pH
Seasonal changes in soil moisture, temperature, microbial activity, and plant growth can cause soil pH to vary. The interaction of the above factors and their effect on pH are not entirely understood. The seasonal effect is a result of the loss, formation, or accretion of salts during the various times of the year (Thomas, 1996). Salt concentration fluctuates as the soil wets and dries. As the soil dries, salt concentration increases, soluble cations replace exchangeable hydronium (i.e., H30+) or aluminum ions, and the solution becomes more acid. Seasonal changes in temperature affect the solubility of carbon dioxide (CO2) in water and the solution acidity. Carbon dioxide is more soluble at cool temperatures and makes the soil more acid (carbonic acid). Conversely, CO2 is less soluble in warm seasons, but microbial respiration produces more CO2, so the net effect on pH is variable. Seasonal differences in the amount of carbonate and bicarbonate ions in solution result in variable pH.
"Everything Mr. Gadinski claimed here is erroneous, untrue and an absolute misrepresentation of the facts," McClellan said/
We could also go back to fourth grade science on sesonal variaton on water pH.
So, what does pH mean for water? Basically, the pH value determines whether water is hard or soft. The pH of pure water is 7. Gadinski is telling you that the pH of the water rose to 6.9. Well the next tenth of a rise is 7.
The normal range for pH in surface water systems is 6.5 to 8.5 and for groundwater systems 6 to 8.5.
Although the report mentions the presence of arsenic one must look at the original level in the first place.
What SUFFER and CAUSE are missing is the need to fill the darn hole in and now.