Geo-environmental challenges of a major coal terminal development in Australia

This paper describes the integration of geotechnical, environmental and groundwater investigations for the Terminal 4 Project in Newcastle, Australia, aimed at identifying appropriate remediation measures to protect human health and environmental values. The site presented a series of complex challenges due to its geological setting, previous uses for waste disposal and adjacent environmentally sensitive areas. Past industrial wastes have caused contamination of soil and groundwater. The site and adjoining wetlands form habitats for protected flora and fauna species. Without mitigation measures, the proposed coal terminal development would have the potential to increase the mobilisation and flow of contaminants off site into the wetlands and other environmental receptors. Geotechnical and groundwater modelling was undertaken, resulting in a series of remediation and mitigation measures for specific identified risks. The implementation of the proposed remediation and mitigation measures for the project will protect environmental values, and is expected to improve the long-term environmental condition of the project area and immediate surrounds.