The terminology used by engineering geologists to describe the various inland saline basin environments has evolved separately from that of other disciplines. This reflects their different interests, but it has meant that, in the published literature, the same terms (e.g. sabkha, playa, salina and numerous local terms) are used to describe different landforms. This note focuses on the characteristic hazards (aggressive saline ground, salt weathering, low bearing capacity and flooding) and their environmental controls. In doing so, the note describes how the severity of the geotechnical risks varies between the different basin types, largely controlled by the position of the groundwater table and, to a lesser extent, the presence of evaporite bedrock within the catchment or region (i.e. the source of salts for surface water and aerosols).