Freeternity Rusinga is a Chartered Professional Engineer with a skills base in the fields of civil engineering and hydrogeology, with a strong capability in groundwater modelling and water system analysis. He joined the ATC Williams Brisbane office in October with 19 years’ experience in groundwater/hydrogeology and surface water projects.
Hi Freeternity, let’s start with the obvious question, tell us about your name?
Yes, this is quite a common question. My father cannot offer an explanation other than he liked the name, but I have a great deal of respect and thanks for his unique choice. As you can expect, it’s an easy conversation starter as well. I think perhaps he heard about the term fraternity from America, which means brotherhood. I am yet to meet another Freeternity, but it will be an interesting conversation when I do.
What brings you to join ATC Williams?
I enjoyed the family-orientated environment when I worked at Nihman Shand before it amalgamated with Aurecon. I’d been with Aurecon for several years, and I was ready to return to a more intimate working culture. There are many highly specialised experts here, and I am enjoying learning from everyone. At Aurecon, I worked on fly ash disposal planning and site water management for heavy industry, including power stations and mines. I like the complex geological settings and skills needed in that area, and I wanted to learn more. In 2016, I met Keith Seddon, who was performing a third-party review of an ash disposal management project I managed. I was so impressed with his work that it piqued my interest in ATC Williams. I am excited to be here and build my expertise alongside experts in mine water hydrology and tailings management.
Can you tell us about your current projects?
I am working with Gideon Steyl on the hydrogeology of the tailings storage facility (TSF) for the Bozshakol Mine in Kazakhstan, which is an exciting and challenging project due to its size. It is an 80 square kilometre mine site with about 70% of this area reserved for the 1.5 billion tonne capacity TSF. We have to get Russian translated into English, and there are different standards between the countries, so we must be thorough when crosschecking variables and meanings.
I am also finishing a project for the hydrogeological assessment of the Upper South Creek Advanced Water Recycling Facility in Sydney as a sub-contract with Aurecon and working on an ‘associated water take’ (AWT) assessment for the Pajingo gold mine in Queensland.
Do you have a project that stands out for you more than others?
I have been fortunate to work in many exciting projects in my career. One that comes to mind was for Santos in 2015. I produced a spatially-based framework known as the Environmental Sensitive Profile (ESP) model, for assessing the environmental sensitivity of the receiving environment associated with the Cooper Basin operational area, across South West Queensland and South Australia. I had to research a suitable analysis approach to support the framework and decided on the DRASTIC method of groundwater vulnerability assessment. DRASTIC is an acronym for seven hydrogeological parameters weighted to a scale. The team embraced the model and incorporated other aspects into it to produce the ESP which was approved by the regulator. Santos is still using the model as an environmental management tool. What also stands out is that Santos presented me with a cake with the DRASTIC model etched into an edible plaque (pictured below). Usually, it is the other way round with the consultant giving the client a gift.
How have you found life in Australia?
In 2012, an opportunity at Aurecon resulted in my family relocating to Brisbane from Cape Town. After almost nine years, I think it’s safe to say that my three children, my wife and myself have settled in quite nicely and there is a lot of opportunities for professionals with my skill set and career goals. I enjoy the improved work-life balance and have continued my hobby of making sculptures and furniture from recycled materials. I was given the opportunity to exhibit a wire sculpture that was awarded a ‘Green Medallion’ during the event. I am very thankful for the life I have in Australia and am keen to see what the next chapter of my career at ATC Williams holds.