Water quality monitoring

Water quality monitoring has been part of the Gladstone Ports Corporation’s (GPC) environment program since the 1990s.

A healthy marine environment is vital to sustaining fish, mammal and plant life. An early warning system notifying us of any change in water quality associated with our activities is important because even small changes in the environment can have an impact on their health.

How we monitor water quality

We use two methods of collection, manual and real time sampling. 

Manual sampling involves the collection of physical water by grab samples. Many environmental approvals have conditions which specify where samples are to be taken and what analysis is required. These samples are sent to an accredited third-party laboratory for analysis, which typically includes; metals, nutrients, hydrocarbons and other contaminants if required.

Real time sampling involves the use of a multi parameter sonde that records physicochemical data including turbidity, pH, Electrical Conductivity, Dissolved Oxygen and temperature. A telemetry system sends data collected from the sondes every 15 minutes. This data can be viewed in real time to allow proactive management.

What we monitor

  • stormwater discharges from operational sites

  • ambient harbour quality at Boyne, Clinton and Fisherman’s Landing wharfs (in addition to being a member of PCIMP)

  • dredging activities.

Results are used in compliance reports for regulators, applications for approvals and the validation of various computer models like, GPC’s hydrodynamic model.

Latest water quality monitoring data

View the Port Curtis Integrated Monitoring Program water quality data.

Ballast water management

What is ballast water?

Ballast water is routinely taken on by ships for stability and structural integrity. Unfortunately, it can contain thousands of aquatic microbes, algae and animals, which are then carried across the world's oceans and released into ecosystems where they are not native.

Untreated ballast water released at a ship's destination could potentially introduce a new invasive aquatic species. Expanded ship trade and traffic volume over the last few decades have increased the likelihood of non-native species being released.

Ballast water management

The International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM Convention) will enter into force on 8 September 2017, marking a landmark step towards halting the spread of invasive aquatic species, which can cause havoc for local ecosystems, affect biodiversity and lead to substantial economic loss. Under the Convention's terms, ships will be required to manage their ballast water to remove, render harmless, or avoid the uptake or discharge of aquatic organisms and pathogens within ballast water and sediments.

Shipboard ballast water management systems must be approved by national authorities, according to a process developed by IMO. Ballast water management systems must be tested in a land-based facility and on-board ships to prove that they meet the performance standard set out in the treaty. These could, for example, include systems which make use of filters and ultraviolet light or electro chlorination.

Ballast water management systems which make use of active substances must undergo a strict approval procedure and be verified by IMO. There is a two-tier process, in order to ensure that the ballast water management system does not pose unreasonable risk to ship safety, human health and the aquatic environment. 

Further information

The International Maritime Organisation has further information on ballast water management.