The alarm goes off and I jump out of bed, quickly get dressed and drive 10 minutes from the village to the site in the environment team ute.
I arrive at work, put my packed lunch in the fridge and check the emails I received since yesterday’s shift. These might be about environmental incidents, general site news or automated data emails that are sent daily.
The environment team is small, so we attend the prestart meetings of other departments to gain an understanding of the hazards they incur in their work areas. Environmental work happens all-around site, so it’s good to know what kind of situations we’re walking into and what works are happening to be aware of. Today I walked across the road and attended the core shed prestart, where they had a question about environmental rehabilitation which I was glad to be present for to answer! I like this prestart a lot because they always do morning stretches at the end of the meeting.
I eat breakfast and have a coffee at my desk while I plan out my day. Today I’m taking some water samples in the active mining area where I’m not permitted to drive, so I need to organise with a permit-holder to drive me there later.
Water sampling requires a lot of gear that needs to be loaded onto the ute, so I set up carefully, load my map onto my touchpad device so I know how to get to each monitoring site, and press play on my favourite playlist to get me in the best mood for the day.
We are required to take samples of the groundwater throughout the year to make sure our operations aren’t contaminating the aquifer. The native trees in the area have very deep roots so if there are contaminants in the water this could affect them.
After sampling some bores I’m ready for lunch in the cool, air-conditioned offices. If I’m doing field work all day I’ll eat lunch at my desk and respond to any emails I’ve received while I was out in the bush. But for anything urgent, I always have my satellite phone so people can reach me immediately; phone reception can be patchy out in the field.
Back to finish the last of today’s bores, one of which I need to get back to the admin building to meet my pit escort for. He drives me there and collects me when I’ve completed the sample. In summer I often encounter animals out in the field, today it was a camel!
When I get back to the office at the end of the day, I store the water samples I collected in the fridge to send in an esky on the next day’s flight back to Perth. I also check my emails again to make sure there aren’t any afternoon incidents to take care of. Then I drive back to the village tired but feeling accomplished.
Even when I’m tired, I always feel better after going to the gym – it’s my favourite way to relieve stress. After a workout or a HIIT group class run by the gym trainer, I have dinner in the dry mess, pack my lunch for the next day and walk back to my donga.
Back at my donga I’ll have a shower, call loved ones, then read a book or watch TV to wind down for the day. Then I’m asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow, rest well needed after a busy day!