Seabed soil sampling has begun at Smith Bay – a crucial piece of work to complete the Environmental Impact Statement for the wharf development.
This work is necessary in order to finalise the wharf design, and to ensure that it can be built and operated with no negative effect on environmental water quality. The Environment Protection Authority of South Australia is satisfied that the investigation itself will have no such negative effects, which is a precondition of the licence. The necessary licence has now been issued by the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure and the investigative drilling program has started.
The information gathered from this geotechnical investigation will determine the exact soil composition. For the past six months, KIPT has had a monitoring buoy just north of its Smith Bay property to measure the quality of the water in real time. We also measure wave, tide and current movements in real time. These data will be used, in conjunction with information about the seabed composition, to devise and populate a coastal process model. This is an essential element of the Environmental Impact Statement for the wharf project.
The management of the onshore abalone farm at Smith Bay has been notified of the works, in accordance with licence conditions. These works are, to a significant extent, being conducted for the benefit of that business. Work will be suspended when and if wave action causes the natural background turbidity to rise significantly above observed baseline levels.