Salt is a natural part of the soil landscape in Western Sydney and is found in the Wianamatta and Bringelly shales and the shallow groundwater of the region. Salts are also deposited on the ground by rain. As water evaporates small deposits of salt are left behind on the ground.
Increased salinity levels can develop naturally, but where the landscape has been disturbed by agricultural or urban development, the flow and quantity of both water and salt through the environment changes dramatically.
Over time the salts can concentrate to a level where they are detrimental to soils, bricks, concrete and metal structures. Consequently, this has led to damage to roads, buildings and houses, underground pipes, paving, concrete structures and their metal reinforcing. Furthermore, salinity can be detrimental to vegetation affecting gardens, lawns and sport playing fields.
In urban areas there are many additional sources of water to dissolve and move salts. These include leaking drinking water, stormwater and sewer pipes, leaking pools, septic tanks and water from over-watering of lawns, gardens, parks and sporting fields.