Karratha Treated Waste Water Management

Karratha, in the northwest of WA, is a hub for oil and gas exploration on the northwest shelf. The town is seen as a future city of the north, and to cater for the growing population, the waste water treatment plant and disposal capacity for Karratha will need to be expanded.

WRM was commissioned to investigate potential environmental effects of proposed expansion options on ephemeral creeklines adjacent to the town of Karratha. WRM’s scope of works included:

  • Field surveys of fish and aquatic invertebrate species in creeks potentially affected;
  • Identification of all fauna collected to species-level (where possible) and an assessment of their conservation value;
  • Provide benchmark data on existing water and sediment quality in the creeks and report against ANZECC/ARMCANZ (2000) guidelines for the protection of aquatic ecosystems;
  • Establish sites (including reference/control sites) suitable for monitoring the short and long-term effects of the expansion on aquatic ecosystem health; and
  • Analysis and results presented in a detailed scientific report.

WRM found that the creeks were already degraded due to urbanisation and industrialisation and associated loss of natural vegetation. The creeks did not support aquatic fauna communities of high ecological value. WRM concluded that the focus for future monitoring and management should be the inshore environs of Nickol Bay.