Saturday, January 10, 2009

Broome International Airport Environmental Vandalism

In 2008, the Broome International Airport built helicopter hangers on the salt marsh as you enter Broome. At the time of construction concerns were raised with the EPA about the pindan and the amount that had been dumped over the delicate and vital salt marsh, in order to lay foundations for this construction. This video clearly demonstrates the pindan erosion and the subsequent bleeding of the pindan over the salt marsh and into the mangrove eco-communities. Broome at its highest point is only 7 metres above sea level. This construction is on sea level and subsequently is incredibly vulnerable to the rising sea levels, because the mangrove community, (which they are killing) is the only barrier that is currently keeping the sea at bay. This is the beginning of the gas industry invasion into the Kimberley coast. Hands Off Country Stand up for the Planet

It's ridiculous that no study was done to determine if there would be damage done to the mangroves. The mangrove forests around Broome are vibrant ecological communities which form part of an ecotone between the land and the bay. Of all tropical mudflats studied Roebuck Bay has the greatest diversity and abundance of invertebrate life. Roebuck Bay is home to a variety of marine turtles, dugong, dolphins and a great diversity of fish. It is also a key location on the East Asian-Australasian Flyway for migratory shorebirds - visited by 100s of thousands of birds every year. It's a global treasure and cries out for respect and conservation. Given the thoughtless damage to the mangroves, can anyone be trusted with a major development like a LNG hub in the same locality and environment? Comment from Save the Kimberley


  1. From an Abstract published for the Australian Road Research Board in 2003 “Sand-clay pindan material in pavements as a structural layer” Authors J.S. Emery, S.Masterson and Broome International Airport Chairman M.W Caplehorn. The summary noted
    “Pindan is a collapsible silty-sand or clayey-sand soil that occurs extensively in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, and is typically red in colour. It is usually considered deleterious, but many pindans display a self-cementation property upon dryback during construction, with a substantial strength gain in dry moisture conditions which was thought to be due to the bridging effect of clay in the pindan. This strength is lost upon re-wetting.
    And it goes on to say ....From the work here, together with published work for red sand-clay as a basecourse, an interim specification has been developed for pindan clayey or silty sand for use as a subbase or selected subgrade in a semi-arid or arid climate.”
    So why is the pindan collapsing at the Broome airport? Worse, as the pindan washes into Roebuck Bay the sea returns with the tide further along the old marsh and sucks at the pindan at the end of the runway. In this case salt will needed to be added to the ‘specification’ for using pindan as a basecourse.

  2. Broome International Airport does not have adequate environmental protection in place. It has the paperwork but not the physical structure in place. Drains do not have separators, a large fuel spill would not be contained. There are many other problems with the environment and with the way BIA abuses envoronmental controls.