Recent rains provided an opportunity too good to miss, said Environmental Studies Manager Laura Todd, who was determined to obtain water samples from the flooded salt flats even after being told it couldn’t be done.

“We had 65 mm of rain on site which hasn’t happened over the last few years,” Laura said.

“We knew if we could get to site to retrieve water samples from the flooded salt flats, we would be able to build on our understanding of local nutrient pathways, which is an important aspect of the project’s environmental studies.”

“I knew there had to be a way and luckily the team at Terrafirma Offshore in Exmouth were willing to take on the challenge.”

Daemon, George and Corey of Terrafirma were not deterred by the difficulty of the task and headed to site on their larger vessel, “Optimus 1000” before transferring to the smaller tender “Bumblebee” to access Urala Creek South and a smaller sub creek before disembarking onto the creek banks and climbing over large sand dunes to access the flooded salt flats.

The team then walked an incredible six kilometres – often through muddy salt flats – to collect the important water samples.

Daemon said it was definitely a challenge but one the team was willing to take on.

“As locals, we know how hard it is to get to the salt flats south of Onslow, but K+S was really keen to get the scientific samples.” Daemon said.

“We are lucky to have the right equipment, local knowledge and determination to get the job done and it is great we could do that for our client.”
The water and soil samples are currently being analysed by ARL Laboratory and will form part of the environmental impact studies being completed by K+S Salt Australia.

The findings of the water sampling, along with all of the other environmental studies are expected to be completed soon and the K+S team hopes to share these at community information sessions in Onslow and Exmouth in May.