Over the last few month gypsum has been used when recovering agricultural land following salt water flooding. Gypsum (calcium sulphate) can be used to restore or improve soils that were flooded with sea water. This gypsum will mainly come in two forms: virgin gypsum and waste gypsum.
It is vital to note that waste gypsum must be spread using a standard waste permit from the Environment Agency (Permit SR2010No4 Mobile plant for land spreading) plus the corresponding deployment note. The two most common forms of waste gypsum are plasterboard gypsum and flue-gas desulfurization gypsum.
Spreading gypsum to replace sodium within soil structure can be effective. However, if the gypsum to be used is from waste sources it is important to follow Environment Agency guidance on land spreading and receive the necessary spreading permit and deployment note before spreading commences.
Agricultural (Non-Waste) Gypsum
If the land treatment is required urgently then this practise of soil treatment can be achieved using agricultural (non-waste) gypsum without any need for a Standard Permit or prior approval of a deployment.
Agricultural Gypsum registered as a CE fertiliser grade gypsum can be obtained from certain suppliers where it has been obtained from naturally occurring mineral sources or industrial refinement. It is used in a variety of agricultural applications including as a carrier for horticultural dressings, as a mushroom composting ingredient, as a soil improver and in land reclamation after salt water flooding.
Advice should be sought from a suitably trained agronomist before spreading gypsum.
If the options outlined above are not suitable and more rapid action is needed the Environment Agency has advised that farmers should contact their local Environment Agency Area office who will be able to consider the site specific issues and seek national advice.