A scholarship that honours the memory of a respected member of the contaminated land consultants' community has been awarded to two science students from The University of Western Australia.
Charlotte Patrick, of City Beach, and Amber Balfour-Cunningham, of White Gum Valley, share the annual Paul Turner Scholarship for their achievements in academia, community involvement and the relevance of their 2014 environmental research projects.
Paul Turner, who died in 2010, had more than 35 years' experience in geology and had worked on contaminated sites around the world.
Following in his footsteps, Charlotte and Amber - who are third-year students - each presented winning projects on the contamination of Anvil Way artificial wetland in Welshpool.
The Anvil Way wetland is part of the Swan-Canning river system, which is under pressure from high nutrient levels that cause algae blooms, low oxygen levels, fish kills and loss of biodiversity. The wetland was dredged and constructed in 2011 to improve the efficiency of decontamination of stormwater and industrial wastewater.
Amber, who will this year complete a Bachelor of Science majoring in environmental science and biochemistry and molecular biology, assessed total concentrations of heavy metals (copper, lead and zinc) in surface water and sediment samples collected in 2005, 2009 and 2014 to determine associated biological risks, relationships relating to sedimentation and differences in threats ecosystem health before and after Anvil Way redevelopment.
She found that dredging decreased the biological risk associated with sediments, however surface waters were still similarly contaminated compared to pre-wetland levels.
Charlotte analysed sediment, soil and street dust around the wetland. Her research report identified and mapped concentrations of copper, lead and zinc, identifying risk level for safe environmental concentrations.
Majoring in marine science, Charlotte is a keen diver and volunteer in her area of study, having completed around 300 hours of volunteer work at the Aquarium of WA (AQWA) as well as voluntary work at the Kings Park Biodiversity Conservation Centre.
The Paul Turner Scholarship is funded by the Australian Contaminated Land Consultants Association WA Chapter (ACLCA-WA) and partner organisations and is presented to a person or persons whose research project or assignment is likely to contribute to the contaminated sites industry in WA, demonstrating aptitude to practice in the industry.