Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC) has received confirmation from the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) that some trigger values for turbidity will be raised.
The decision comes after an extensive review of additional data by the regulator to better reflect the background turbidity levels.
Naturally occurring turbidity prior to dredging commencing was analysed to determine the background levels in the harbour and presented to EHP.
“GPC applied to change the turbidity triggers when natural occurrences alone were causing exceedances,” Chair of the Dredge Technical Reference Panel (DTRP) Dr Rick Morton said.
“Turbidity increases with larger tidal ranges so most spring and king tides pushed turbidity levels over the trigger levels.”
Dr Morton said the responsible and adaptive approach to dredging meant dredging was paused during these periods of high turbidity, despite dredging not being the main cause.
“The DTRP therefore supported the application to revise the trigger levels accordingly,” Dr Morton added.
GPC CEO Leo Zussino welcomed the decision to raise the trigger values to a more realistic level.
“We take our responsibility as a custodian of Gladstone harbour very seriously and want to develop the port in a sustainable way with respect for the marine environment,” Mr Zussino said.
Dredging Today Staff, May 4, 2012; Image: westernbasinportdevelopment