Dr David Dettrick


Principal Environmental Engineer/Hydrogeologist


David is a technical leader and mentor with 20 years of experience as an environmental engineer and scientist, with publications in surface and groundwater water quality, flood assessment, mine pit dewatering, catchment hydrology, water supply design and reliability assessment, environmental flow
and reservoir and lake limnology. He has experience in the planning, implementation and review of multidisciplinary projects that seek to provide risk-based assessments of potential impacts to water and protection measures that seek to protect aquatic ecosystems such as rivers, wetlands and estuaries and
their surrounding environments.
David is also a specialist numerical modeller and has developed complex hydrologic and hydraulic flood and low flow water quantity models and is experienced in hydrodynamic mixing, tidal currents and wave action for marine navigation and simulation, complex biogeochemical water quality models, and
sediment transport systems. David is experienced in cutting edge stochastic analysis of extreme climate, flood events and climate modelling, and adapting methodology in locations with limited data availability. He is also experienced in advanced field techniques such as stable isotope ratios for fingerprinting
nutrient sources, dating groundwater, and determining river catchment baseflow contribution assessment.

Education and Affiliations

  • Bachelor of Engineering (Civil/Environmental), Monash University, Australia
  • Master of Science (Environmental Science), University of Tasmania, Australia
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Engineering, Soil Gas Multiphase Modelling) (in progress), University of Melbourne, Australia
  • International Mine Water Association Science Review Panel
  • Member, International Mine Water Association (IMWA)
  • Member Australian Remediation Industry Cluster CRC CARE
  • Major Hazardous Facility Environmental and Compliance Auditor, Quality Society of Australasia

Professional History

  • 2013-present Earth Systems -Principal Environmental Engineer
  • 2010-2013 Sinclair Knight Merz -Senior Integrated Mine Water Engineer
  • 2007-2010 Rio Tinto –ERA Ltd -Principal Environmental Engineer –Water Group
  • 2004-2007 Northern Territory EPA -Senior Water Specialist
  • 1998-2004 Tasmania EPA -Team Leader – Wastewater Group

Fields of Special Competence

1D/2D/3D Hydrodynamics Modelling –river and estuary processes, hydrologic rainfall/runoff modelling, flood estimation, surface/groundwater interactions, GDEs, sediment transport, mixing, erosion and scour processes, marine currents and tidal modelling for marine navigation – RORB, eWater Source Catchments, AWBM, HEC-HMS, HEC-RAS, MIKE11, MIKE21, MIKE 3, RMA10/11, SMS, MIKE SHE.  Water Network Modelling, Distribution systems, SPS Design, Pipeline Design, Water/SW/Sewage Treatment Design – EPANET, SWMM5, MIKE URBAN, InfoWorks, MUSIC, SedBASIN. Mine Water Management, Mixing zone and Outfall Management –modelling of water balance, storage inventory, pit lake limnology, pollutant water quality effects, ecosystem protection, health risk management, recreational water quality, near field modelling, US EPA -Visual Plumes. Contaminated site investigation and management, marine sediment contamination assessment, ecotoxicity assessment, phase 1, 2, & 3 site auditing, soil and groundwater treatment systems, health risk assessments for pathogens, metals, hydrocarbons, and radiation. Experienced with BS10175, Australian NEPM Schedules, USEPA Standards. Biological monitoring and assessment, AUSRIVAS Practitioner, SEABASE, stochastic assessment of marine and freshwater ecosystem health using macroinvertebrate and macrophyte species richness and diversity indices.

Representative Experience

Some examples of David’s recent roles and projects include:

  • Technical review of Australian Rainfall and Runoff, A Guide to Flood Estimation, Book 5: Flood Hydrograph Estimation, and Book 6: Flood Hydraulics. http://arr.ga.gov.au/arr-guideline.
  • Muang Xai City Flood Risk Assessment 2017 (Laos), hydrologic rainfall runoff modelling, SYMHYD & AWBM model calibration, flood modelling (SOBEK), technical assessment of flood protection works, field flood model calibration and data collection, flood inundation mapping, Flood management options economic assessment for World Bank funding.
  • Gambia River Flood Modelling2016 (Senegal), Rainfall runoff hydrologic modelling and Flood Modelling of Gambia River for village assets/infrastructure protection, backflow flooding assessment in tributaries, Flood management options assessment (SYMHYD, HEC-RAS).
  • Faleme River Hydrology and Flood Assessment 2016 (Mali), Catchment Hydrology Assessment, rainfall runoff and Flood Modelling of Faleme River for mine and village assets/infrastructure protection, IDF model for stormwater design (AWBM, HEC-RAS)
  • Port of Dakar Offshore Oil and Gas Shore Base Contamination Assessment for Baseline and Closure 2017 (Senegal), development and update of conceptual site models, monitoring for comprehensive hydrocarbon assessment, PAH, VOC, to  Fort Hill Wharf Marine Sediment Dredging Spoil Assessment, Darwin (Australia). DQO development and evaluation of the PSI marine sediment contamination data. Hydrodynamic dispersion modelling and sediment coring for identified contaminants of concern included elevated metals including TBT, Zn, Cd, and PAHs acenapthene, with elevated Pb and Zn in
  • Lead Modeller and Design Lead –Icyari Tantulum Project 2017 (Rwanda), Mine Pit Dewatering Systems Design, Aquifer characterisation and pumping test, site wide numerical groundwater modelling MICROFEM, prefeasibility design of dewatering groundwater bore field, pump selection, in-pit horizontal seepage design (SEEPW).
  • Lead Modeller -Brukunga Mine South Australia Final Landform Erosion Modelling. CAESAR, WEPP, RUSLE, InfoWorks sediment transport models were used to develop long term drainage system for a capped landform comprised of highly acidic waste rock. The design life 1:1000ARI, WQ modelling for 10,000 year project life and stressor period analysis due to climate change.
  • Technical Lead -FerrAus Iron Ore Project Prefeasibility and Detailed Mine Water Management Systems Design, Mine Water Balance (GOLDSIM) Mine Water Transfer Pipeline Design, Stormwater Treatment, and Davidson Creek Diversions, Eastern Pilbara, Western Australia.
  • Lead modeller and Technical lead -Gidginbung Gold Mine –Site Closure Landform and Stormwater Treatment Drainage Design, Temora 2017 (Australia) Site hydrologic modelling, Site drainage design, Sediment basin design, discharge water quality design.
  • Lead modeller -Mt Nimba Mine Guinea Africa, BHP Billiton Prefeasibility Sediment basin and Site Stormwater Design, CAESAR, GeoWEPP, RUSLE, SedBASIN. Designed 30 sediment detention basins instream and out of stream mine roads and structures in a steep slope colluvial highly
    erodible setting.
  • Technical Reviewer -Woodcutters Mine Closure Program Landform Design and Drainage, Site Contamination and Water Quality Performance Newmont Mining, sediment transport and WQ modelling QUAL2K, RMA11.
  • Project Manager and Field Monitoring Team Leader – Watson Creek Pollutant Pathways and Conceptual Model, Melbourne Water, fresh and marine field monitoring of nutrients, phys-chem parameters, stable isotope analysis of nitrate and oxygen for source identification of very high nitrate pollution leading to mangrove ecosystems in Yaringa National Park, Western Port. Conceptual model development and pollutant pathways identification for Watson Creek and recommended hydrodynamic water quality modelling framework to examine toxicant effects on fresh and marine aquatic systems and local mangrove habitat species.

Recent News

Report for The International Network for Acid Prevention

26 May 2020

Earth Systems in collaboration with Okane Consultants, released a report providing new insight into ensuring low polluting mine operations, and more successful mine closure outcomes.

The report reviews conventional mine rock stockpile construction methods, and summarises improved construction technologies that are available to help improve water quality from mine wastes. Continued efforts to implement these technologies will help quantify their environmental and economic benefits.


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