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Certain actions and building operations produce changes in the local environment which, although invisible to the eye, may affect the growth of flax and other crops. The Ecology skill is used to test for pollution in a location.

Pollution is not well understood; see below for discussion on what does and does not appear to cause it. However, based on what may be tested using the Ecology skill, we can assume that there are five environmental categories where pollution can occur:

  • Heavy metal pollution
  • Soil acidity
  • Groundwater level
  • Phosphorus level
  • Soot level


I burned 2 firepits for about 25 mins each, acidity was 4855 afterwards, didnt affect onions, leeks and garlic growth, 10 coords north were a few trees, 951 acidity there, no effect on wood growth

Glaziers bench

Doesn't seem to affect acidity or heavy metals, does however cause soot pollution within ~50 co-ords.

Clinker dropped on the ground

There is some disagreement on this in T5. If you have tested it, please post your results. Make sure you are not dropping it next to a furnace or other item that may cause pollution when used.

22/9/10 - Dropped 460 Clinkers on an island in a pond, tested for Heavy Metal (300 tadpoles) and Acidity 2 days later, no discernible pollution. More test results soon - Adellena

23/9/10 - Dropped 485 Clinkers in the same spot every 15 minutes, for 2 hours, for a total of 3880 Clinkers. Tested for Heavy Metal and Acidity immediately after each drop, and saw no impact at all. - Adellena

14/11/10 - Site: FoA Camp in Celaeno Clinker Source: 6 Hades furnaces run continuously on 3 day cycles, FoA source reports clinker dropped at the furnaces (more then 30,000 clinker per day average) Tests: Heavy Metals: 0 Acid: 1501 Soot: 0 Flax grown adjacent: normal Onions grown adjacent: normal - DisShovel

That change in acidity was likely caused by the furnaces themselves (or some other nearby polluting building). Clinker pollution is absolutely, positively fictitious: this rumor was started in T3 by a known drama-maker, and despite there never being any evidence whatsoever that dropping clinker pollutes, it persists to this day. Please do not spread this rumor, and do not scold others for dropping clinker. It does not pollute.

A historical note: According to the T3 wiki, there was significant evidence that clinker sweep caused delayed pollution in an area SE of the drop point. This was apparently removed at some point, since it did not exist in T4 and onwards.

Poor soil

Planted 40 beds of flax, the next day no flax could be harvested, with this message: "The flax plant yielded no good materials. Poor soil can cause this." Flax was grown near a fleet furnace.

  • 1000 tadpoles, none died
  • Soil acidity 1
  • Groundwater level 100

Flax would not grow in area that had been used to grow flax previously. Message: "The flax plant yielded no good materials. Poor soil can cause this."

  • 1000 tadpoles, none died
  • Soil acidity 4001
  • Groundwater level 100

The highest acidity was near two groups of behives, where it rose to 4861 and 4891. Surrounding this area is a zone of 2001. No idea what caused it or how to fix it. --sahil 21:59, 4 November 2010 (EST)--sahil 22:04, 3 November 2010 (EST)

Groundwater level

  • Groundwater level seems to go up to 200 near (not dry) aqueduct towers
  • The higher the tower the bigger the area of the highered groundwater level

  • Growing wheat sometimes lower groundwater levels (depends on the number of wheat plants around, 1 plant: 100 -> 99, 25 plants: 100 -> 92)
    • When the wheattrigger triggers it will count wheat plant around and lower groundwater level
    • Not sure how/when the wheattrigger triggers, we have been growing wheat at different spots (even regions) and at one spot the trigger executed, at the other it didn't
    • Trigger executed (always?) about 1 ingame hours after starting to grow
    • Harvesting a bed seems NOT to be the trigger (at least not directly), after harvesting the groundwater level was still 100, but before the next harvest it lowered
    • Maybe it triggers at specific times depending on the spot (coords?) - wrong or not a fixed time
  • Lowered Groungwater levle seems to appear always in a about 71x71 coords cell with rounded edges
  • Groundwater level seems to increase always at 6:00PM if it is lower than 100. It seems like it does not always increase by 1, I also saw increases by 2.

  • Pluribus first comment on wheat: 'FYI, Wheat == spawn of satan', but I guess that's just his own oppinion of how wheat works and not any hint (since he had to look up in the code after this comment to give me a hint)
  • Pluribus hint: 'Wheat MAY effect water levels.'