Dry Creek saltfields
The Dry Creek saltfields are an area of evaporation ponds stretching more than 30 km along the coast from Dry Creek to Middle Beach.
Several State Government agencies are involved with the regulation of the saltfields. Please click below to go to the relevant site depending on the nature of your query:
- The lead regulator, visit the Department for Energy and Mining.
- Mangroves and other vegetation, visit the Department for Environment and Water.
- For information on the regulation of discharges to marine or inland waters associated with salt production, please read below.
The Dry Creek saltfields were previously owned by the Ridley Corporation, which ended salt extraction there in 2014. The site was subsequently purchased by Buckland Dry Creek Pty Ltd (BDC) which took on the mining lease for the site. It is part of the non-metallic mineral mining and quarrying industry.
BDC also has a licence under the Environment Protection Act 1993 for chemical storage and warehousing facilities, chemical works (salt production) and discharges to marine or inland waters for sites across the eastern side of Gulf St Vincent.
In mid-September 2020, DEM requested support from the EPA to investigate the cause of the dieback of what is now known to be approximately 10 ha of mangroves and 35 ha of saltmarsh at St Kilda adjacent to the Dry Creek saltfields.
The EPA is working closely with DEM and the Department for Environment and Water (DEW) to understand this complex issue.
The EPA is assisting with scientific advice, water sampling and the installation of a piezometer network to collect information on groundwater levels around the ponds.
The government team is assessing environmental impacts and conditions, and determining what actions need to be taken by the saltfields’ operator and by government to prevent further damage to the natural environment and implement works aimed at rehabilitating the affected area. The scientific data and outcomes of this assessment are published on the DEM web site.
Separate to the government’s cross-agency actions to assess and respond to the dieback, the EPA is also conducting a formal investigation into whether the operator’s actions at the site constitute an offence under the Environment Protection Act 1993 in relation to the mangrove dieback.
This is a complex investigation that has required two seasons of monitoring to collect sufficient data to be able to provide to independent experts.
An investigation report and brief of evidence are expected to be completed by mid-2022. While the EPA does not publish details of active investigations, the outcome will ultimately be made public.