Salinity and associated waterlogging can have a serious impact on infrastructure, buildings and houses. Many towns and cities, including the Sydney metropolitan area, are currently experiencing problems associated with urban salinity.
Salinity damage to houses, buildings and infrastructure includes:
- Deterioration of brick, mortar and concrete or `spalling’. This occurs when saline water is drawn up into brickwork followed by the expansion of the salt upon drying as the moisture dries.
- Corrosion of metal buried in the ground or set in structural concrete.
- Structural cracking, damage or building collapse may result because of shifting or sinking of foundations.
- Breakdown of road concrete, bitumen and asphalt with associated pot holing, cracking and crumbling of the road base. Associated cCosts ofto repair road damage can be very high.
- Damage to underground pipes, cables and other infrastructure due to the breakdown of unprotected metal, cement and other materials.
- Loss of amenity in recreational areas such as gardens and sports fields due to the appearance of bare, exposed patches where grass and other plants cannot grow. Prolonged waterlogging may also be a problem.
- Failure of septic tanks caused by high watertables rendering them inoperable. This often leads to other environmental and health problems.
- Damage to heritage buildings and indigenous places and artefacts.
Other costs are may be less tangible, such as a decline in property values or lost revenue because of a reduced capacity to use an asset on salinised lands.
Under the Local Government Salinity Initiative (LGSI) a series of booklets have been produced to address urban salinity impacts and management issues.
Page last updated: 26 February 2011