Gypsum, langbeinite, sulfur, and compost for reclamation of drastically disturbed calcareous saline–sodic soils

  • S. J. Day
  • J. B. NortonEmail author
  • C. F. Strom
  • T. J. Kelleners
  • E. F. Aboukila
Original Paper


Soil disturbance during arid region energy development often redistributes subsurface salts, including sodium (Na), to the surface. Elevated Na degrades soil structure and inhibits germination and establishment of native plants important for ecosystem functions. Strategies for rapid reclamation of thin surface horizons are needed. Study objectives were to evaluate chemical amendments and compost for remediation of saline–sodic soils on a well pad that had electrical conductivity (EC) of 8.7 dS m−1 and exchangeable sodium percentage of 38.6% following reclamation practices in south-central Wyoming. Eight treatments applied in October 2012 included gypsum, langbeinite, and elemental sulfur (S) with and without compost, plus compost alone, and an untreated control. Plots were sampled four times over 1 year at depths of 0–3, 3–8, and 8–15 cm. Samples were analyzed for exchangeable plus solution concentrations of Na, calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), and potassium (K). Results indicate that Na was leached from surface soils in all the treatments and the untreated control. Langbeinite most effectively enhanced movement of Na and caused initial increases in salinity that abated within 1 year. Gypsum enhanced movement of Na to lesser degree, and movement under S and compost was equivalent to untreated controls. Added compost did not affect activity of langbeinite, gypsum, or S. Langbeinite effectively reduced sodicity, but high cost and initial increases in soil salinity warrant additional investigation of appropriate application rates and alternative management practices, such as delaying planting until high-salinity abates.


Reclaimed gas well pads Semiarid climate Salt-affected soils 



This study was supported by the University of Wyoming School of Energy Resources and the Wyoming Reclamation and Restoration Center. We thank KC Harvey Environmental LLC for facilitating fieldwork, Gary Austin of BP America for allowing us to conduct this research using soil from their Wamsutter natural gas production area, as well as TJ Peters and Alan Hamner for assistance in the dryland setup. We would also like to thank Dr. Janet Dewey of the UW Geochemical Lab for her assistance with elemental analyses, Leann Naughton for laboratory assistance, Matthew Rubin for contributing climate data for the period of study, and David Legg for assistance with statistical analyses.

Supplementary material

13762_2018_1671_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (220 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 220 kb)


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Copyright information

© Islamic Azad University (IAU) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ecosystem Science and ManagementUniversity of WyomingLaramieUSA
  2. 2.Department of Natural Resources and Agricultural Engineering, College of AgricultureDamanhour UniversityDamanhourEgypt

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