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A day in the life of…
Undertaking vacation employment within the Environmental Department at Glencore
Amanda Maier, currently studying Bachelor of Environmental Science (Hons) at the University of Queensland and undertaking vacation employment with Glencore within the Environmental Department
Alarm goes off, giving me plenty of time to go for a walk in the hills surrounding Mount Isa, or for a swim at Splashez Aquatic Centre, and still enjoy a leisurely breakfast (best meal of the day!)
I leave for work. This has to be one of the best things about living in Mount Isa as it takes me less than 10 minutes to drive to work from the other side of town, even with all the traffic lights! This gives me about 5 minutes to boot up my computer, browse my emails and see what I have on for the day, before officially starting at 0800.
Head into SafeStart, a daily safety meeting held with the HSEC team to discuss general news, improvements, issues and daily tasks ahead. After this meeting I make a quick tea in the kitchen (for the daily required caffeine hit!) and make a list of priority tasks for the day. Within the environmental team, in the morning there is generally monitoring and sampling of some description to be completed (be it groundwater, surface water, air or sediment). Every day is something different, which has given me great exposure to different sampling techniques. Today is REMP sampling (Receiving Environment Monitoring Program) to meet conditions within the site’s Environmental Authority (EA).
I head to the environment lab to get the sample bottles required for the morning’s sampling ready. I also book out a YSI probe, to take in-situ water quality readings at the REMP sites, and print off data sheets to record water and habitat quality information. Some REMP sites are considered remote work and require a Remote Work Form to be filled out and a satellite phone to be taken for 2 hourly call ins, which I will also get ready. Then it’s off to pre-start the car so we are all ready to go.
An environmental technician and I then head out to the REMP sites scheduled to be sampled. Today it is Waterfall Hole (pictured), Browns Waterhole and Sybella Creek Junction. These are beautiful locations, found on the properties surrounding Mount Isa, which take some time to get to and require 4WD experience. Snacks, good tunes and plenty of water are a must! This is another great aspect of being an enviro out here; you get out and about a lot, and see many pretty sites in the area.
Once at the sites, an AusRivAS qualified person (in this case, the techie) performs the monthly habitat data collection, which requires assessment of several aspects of the habitat, including longitudinal and cross- sectional profile sketches, riparian flora transects and macrophyte assessments. I take the water samples and record the water quality data. Once these are complete, we head on back to the minesite, log the samples in our database (InViron), scan the fieldsheets in and send the samples to an external lab, ALS, for analysis.
Lunchtime! You can bring lunch in, head home (perks of working in a small residential town!) or hit up one of the many lunch spots in town (Isa Hotel, Bambinos, Zambreros, Overlander to name a few!) with your mates.
Generally the afternoons are for project work and meetings. Today I had a meeting with the Water Management senior about a groundwater project I am working on. We are trialling a different groundwater sampling technique (pictured is one of the techie’s helping me in the field!) that could potentially significantly reduce the hours techie’s spend groundwater monitoring each day whilst still providing accurate data.
Home time! Today I went for an afternoon bush bash to a local watering hole with mates (Rigby Falls, absolutely amazing after rain!) and we often take a tinny out to Lake Moondarra for a sunset fish and swim.
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