CONTAMINATED SITE INVESTIGATION
The Contaminated Sites Act (2003) defines a contaminated site as any area that has a substance present above concentrations which presents or has the potential to present a risk of harm to human health or the environment. Commonly occurring contaminants include petroleum hydrocarbons, solvents, pesticides, heavy metals, excess nutrient loading and asbestos fibre.
Bioscience provides contaminated site investigations using a tiered approach in accordance with current legislation, and the subsequent Regulations and Contaminated Sites Management Series Guidelines (DWER).
For a contaminated site investigation to yield meaningful results the following actions are required: (1) the careful, systematic and detailed study of past land use, (2) the identification of substances which might cause concern, and (3) an understanding the nature of the local soil and groundwater. This leads to the creation of a conceptual site model (CSM) that describes the possible pathways by which exposure to potential contamination may occur. This in turn defines the analytical investigations required to confirm site status.
Frequently, DWER guidelines require an independent contaminated sites auditor to work with Bioscience to produce a Mandatory Auditors Report.
Detailed investigations can lead to assurance that sites are acceptable, or to the development of management plans to contain or remediate the land.
SITE AND SOIL EVALUATION
A Site and Soil Evaluation, or commonly called SSE, is a written report that examines the various aspects of a site in relation to sewage collection, treatment and on-site disposal to ensure adequate management over time.
The assessment is to be in accordance with AS/NZS 1547 On-site domestic wastewater management and the Government Sewerage Policy 2019 (GSP 2019) reviewing all relevant constraints and the risks to public health and the environment potentially posed by an on-site sewage system. Whilst AS/NZS 1547 only applies to domestic wastewater management, the GSP 2019 is also relevant to non-residential development.
At Bioscience, our team has an extensive experience conducting SSEs within and outside the Perth metroplitan area.
ACID SULPHATE SOIL INVESTIGATION
Acid Sulfate Soils (ASS) can form where inundation of land by fresh or seawater causes oxygen depletion so that organic matter cannot break down in the usual way, but instead accumulates as peat and sulfides. Upon exposure to oxygen, sulfuric acid forms in these soils which in turn releases other toxic substances, including heavy metals, into the surrounding environment. ASS frequently occur in Western Australian, particularly within the Swan Coastal Plain, and become a significant issue when disturbed by excavation, drainage or declining groundwater levels.
Understanding the nature and distribution of Acid Sulfate Soils is an essential feature of planning various land development projects in low lying areas. To this end, Bioscience is experienced and equipped to facilitate all the steps of ASS assessments as required by planning, environmental and regulatory authorities.
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT
In Australia there are legislative requirements for potential environmental impacts, both positive and negative, to be assessed prior to a project or development proposal being approved. Consequently, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a fundamental stage in any proposal and warrants a systematic and orderly evaluation by experienced environmental professionals.
For over 15 years Bioscience has provided professional EIA in accordance with both WA state and federal legislation (i.e. Environmental Protection Act 1986 Part IV and Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, respectively). We offer EIA from preliminary desktop investigations to a comprehensive investigation and report, involving environmental surveys, conceptual modelling and community consultation.
Wetlands are areas where the soil becomes inundated or waterlogged, either permanently or seasonally, with fresh or saline water and are generally inhabited by wetland adapted plant and animal communities. Wetlands vary widely because of regional and local differences in soils, topography, climate, hydrology, water chemistry, vegetation, and other factors, including human disturbance.
Driven by the recognition of the importance of wetlands in the Swan Coastal Plain ecosystem, and the fact that European settlement had caused a rapid loss of wetlands, studies were initiated in the late 1980’s to 1990’s to map wetlands in the Perth area, and to assign management categories to protect them from future decline.
The definition, location and management category of wetlands can change over the longer term, so new wetlands can form or old wetland can dry out, thus losing their wetland characteristics. It was also recognised that some of the original wetland mapping was done on a broad scale and may prove in time to have the boundaries imprecisely mapped or inappropriate management categories assigned.
Bioscience provides expert advice on current DBCA wetland boundaries and management categories, and where appropriate, conducts the necessary investigations to justify a modification to the boundaries or management categories as per the DBCA Guidelines.
Wetland investigations require hydrological, biological and chemical analysis. After integrating the results and data, management plans can be formulated to preserve and protect worthwhile wetlands.
FLORE AND FAUNA SURVEY
Western Australia is blessed with a rich and diverse range of endemic flora and fauna, making it one of the world’s biodiversity “hot spots”. This biodiversity is a hallmark of environmental health but requires special expertise to quantify and catalogue.
Bioscience has extensive skills and experience in undertaking both quantitative and qualitative flora and fauna assessments in accordance with EPA Guidance 51 Surveys (Terrestrial Flora and Vegetation Surveys for Environmental Impact Assessment in Western Australia), ranging from small remnant areas to much larger ecosystems.
With our ever-expanding herbarium collection and our innovative Research and Development project (in collaboration with other leading botanists), in which we are developing methods for a DNA-based taxonomy of native flora, we are well versed to service all your Flora and Fauna surveying requirements. Our flora field work stretches across the vast extent of the state, from the Kimberley in the north to the south coast, from the central deserts to the temperate forests.