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An open limestone channel (OLC) was constructed within an existing drain to treat the acidic and metal-rich drainage waters generated from an acid sulfate soil (ASS) catchment. The OLC was constructed downstream of a catchment pump and it consisted of a series of ponds and limestone sections. The accumulation of sediment over the limestone, preventing contact of limestone with acidic water, was the greatest problem impacting the OLC in its first year of operation. The continuous or sporadic operation of the catchment pump (at 120 l/s) was not sufficient to flush sediment from the limestone. The accumulation of large amounts of sediment onto the limestone reduced the amount of alkalinity and calcium released into solution. However, if the sediment is removed by agitating the limestone then an equivalent or greater amount of alkalinity may be added to solution and more metals removed from solution compared to fresh limestone. The coating on the limestone had a high concentration of manganese oxides in addition to slightly lower concentrations of aluminium and iron. Removal of these metals from the water was due to the increase in pH produced by limestone dissolution in addition to sorption reactions of the existing coating which had natural microbial activity. © 2008 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.