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Environmental monitoring entails setting up a program to ensure that there is compliance of the study recommendations of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). The process assesses the effectiveness of the recommended mitigation approaches and identifies further remedial actions. This paper outlines the environmental monitoring report of Al Qua'a station” in UAE. It provides systematic approaches that audits, monitors, and reduces the impact on the environment of the operation and construction works of the project. The report ensures that the regulations for noise and waste, air and water quality, among others are adhered to. The report consists of:
the duties of the client, Engineer, contractor, Environmental Team, Independent Environmental Checker, concerning audit requirements and environmental monitoring during construction.
the requirements of the construction schedule and other essential environmental procedures that track the impact on the environmental
the information on the project programming and organization of the project’s construction activities
the definition of Action and Limit and levels
the establishment of the Action and Event plans
requirements that review working procedures and pollution sources in case of non-compliance
requirements for environmental monitoring and presentation
Environmental Monitoring and Audit Requirements
The basis of the requirements is the numerous findings of various EIA studies. The project entails site formation works, landscaped areas, and infrastructure such as roads, drains, and other amenities. The activities may impact the environment (Geneletti, 2013). Various recommendations of mitigation measures assist in the prevention of potential adverse effects arising from the operations and constructions of the stations.
The following are some of the requirements in Al Qua'a station. The likely environmental impacts are outlined. Various strategies can minimize these impacts to acceptable levels due to the applications of the recommended mitigation measures (Macinstosh, 2014). To realize the compliance of the various environmental standards, the following impacts should be considered during the construction stage:
(c) air quality
(d) landscape and visual
During the operation stage, the recommendations are on the mitigation of traffic noise and landscape and visual monitoring (Geneletti, 2013) The subsequent sections will have details of the EM&A requirements.
Various Mitigation Measures and Implementation Schedule
The following Implementation Schedule summarizes the mitigation measures for both the operation and construction stages.
Environmental Impact Assessment Ref
Describes and provides the section number in the report
Environmental Monitorin Ref.
Provides a description of section number in the manual
Environmental Protection Approaches
Describes actions and deliverables that ameliorate environmental impacts
Measures of Location, and Timing
provides the programming of the implementation and mitigation
Agent of Implementation
Details the mitigation responsibilities
Stage of Implementation
Provides a description of the stage of the implementation of the mitigation measures
Legislations and Guidelines
Entails the legislations and guidelines required for compliance
Environmental Policy And Project Management Responsibilities and Organization
The following is a policy that can be used to ensure compliance with the environmental standards:
The adoption of technologies through design and construction to minimize environmental pollution
Enforcing environmental requirements on contractors to enhance the prevention of potential impacts
The continuous monitoring of the environmental performance of contractors during construction
Enhancing waste reduction, recycling, and re-use
Ensuring that there is compliance of environmental legislations
Rolling out environmental training and education to staff
Ensuring the continuous improvement in environmental performance
Project Organization and Responsibilities
Each of the stakeholders in the Al Qua'a station project will have some duties to ensure that the environment is safe.
First, the client will have responsibilities such as the supervision and quality and fast production of outputs (Slotterback, 2008). The client will also engage the Engineer and the Independent Environmental Checker (Mostert, 2015). He/she will ensure that the deadlines are met for the agreed objectives as well as ensuring compliance of the Environmental regulations (Macinstosh, 2014; Slotterback, 2008). Other duties of the client in environmental monitoring include providing periodic reports.
The contractor will employ and provide help to the Environmental Team (ET), implement environmental controls, and enforce corrective actions (Hong, 2016). He will also be responsible for compliance and observation of all environmental regulations as well as carrying out works with minimal environmental impacts.
The Engineer will ensure the full implementation of the EM&A program, ensure the contractor is implementing environmental controls, and reviewing the monitoring and audit reports (Hong, 2016). Other duties include investigating the Contractor’s equipment.
The Environmental team will conduct environmental monitoring for aspects such as noise, water and air quality, among others in Al Qua'a station. The team will also record activities at the site, regular maintenance of equipment, and sending the monitoring results to the team leader (Mostert, 2015).
The Independent Environmental Checker (IEC) will be employed before the commencement of the construction projects (Mostert, 2015). He will be responsible for auditing the entire EM&A program, verifying the environmental acceptability of works, and conduct periodic site inspections. He will also conduct impact monitoring and report the site inspections to the client.
Applying sufficient dust suppression measures, the dust levels will be lower than the maximum dust leves allowed by environmental regulations (Spickett, 2013).
The mitigation approaches that suppress dust levels include watering of exposed pavements of haulage routes. The project should be in compliance with the Air Quality Objectives. The process of monitoring air quality measures how the dust suppression measures are effective.
The impact of dust on air pollution levels is determined by the drift and quantity of dust particles (Bergeson, 2014). Large dust particles do not o far from the source while finer sources go farther away from the source (Spickett, 2013). The primary impact of dust arise from the fine particles. Therefore, monitoring and auditing of the Total Suspended Particulates (TSP) levels will ensure the early detection of any deteriorating air quality and action taken to remedy the situation.
The monitoring equipment will include a High volume sampler that will be used to carry out TSP monitoring. There will also be wind monitoring equipment that will be set in various locations (Bergeson, 2014). Some exceptional circumstances may call for other methods that get representative wind data upon approval.
Laboratory analysis is also essential in the process. A laboratory with a constant humidity and temperature control should be equipped with conditioning and measuring instruments to handle the collected dust samples for data analysis.
There will also be various monitoring locations in Al Qua'a station. The locations and status of dust sensitive receivers may be change periodically. There are criteria for selecting alternative monitoring locations. They are; the closeness of the locations to the dust emission source, the proximity to the sensitive receptors, and the existing meteorological conditions.
There will be baseline monitoring in all the designated monitoring locations. There should not be any dust generation or construction activities near the monitoring locations. There will be approval of alternative baseline monitoring locations.
The Environmental team will carry out impact monitoring. There will be definition of the precise time for monitoring. If there is no compliance with the criteria for air quality, there needs to be more frequent monitoring exercise until excessive dust emission is rectified.
There will be an action plan to enhance air quality. The results from the baseline monitoring will form the basis that will be used to determine air quality criteria. The environmental team leader will compare the impact monitoring results with the air quality criteria. In case on non-compliance, there should be relevant action in accordance with the Action Plan.
Several measures are effective in reducing dust. To comply with the Air Pollution regulations, the Contactor will take all measures to minimize dust due to his work. There are likely to be short-term dust impacts on sites formation works. Therefore, there should be an implementation of dust suppression measures such as watering of the exposed areas. Measures should also be implemented to minimize impacts on sensitive receivers. The Contactor should ensure that there is adequate water supply to be used to minimize dust. There should be effective water sprays. An implementation schedule that contains the action plan for minimizing dust is also necessary.
If the methods used are not effective in restoring air quality to required levels, then some mitigation approaches should be adopted.
Unmitigated noise levels during construction may exceed the recommended noise levels if construction activities occur near Noise Sensitive Receivers (NSRs) or during several simultaneous constructions. Adequate mitigation measures are necessary during construction so as not to exceed the recommended noise levels (Bonde, 2000). Such measures include the use of quiet plant and working methods, using temporary noise barriers, and restricting the number of works (Bond, 2000). Noise monitoring should be done during construction to monitor compliance. Monitoring also checks effectiveness of the mitigation measures.
During the operation stage in Al Qua'a station, introducing environmentally friendly layout design results in noise compliance. For the case study, a traffic noise monitoring program is also essential. It is advisable to check the wind speed regularly with a speed meter. The Environmental Team should provide the noise-monitoring equipment, which should be useful during baseline monitoring, ad hoc monitoring, and regular impact monitoring (Grazziano, 2004).
Noise monitoring locations should also be constructed. There should be regular updating of locations of noise sensitive receivers (Grazziano, 2004). Several factors should be considered when having alternative monitoring locations. They include the locations, closeness to the NSRs, and care for those monitoring locations that are within the vicinity of the sensitive receivers.
A sound level meter and data logger should be used to conduct baseline noise monitoring. It is essential to measure the baseline noise levels before the construction of the project (Bonde, 2000). The period of survey period should also be chosen before construction to minimize typical sources of noise. The logger should be functioning properly during the monitoring period. The equipment should be inspected to ensure continued operation. No construction activities should take place within the vicinity of the stations during baseline monitoring of noise.
There will be impact monitoring on all designated monitoring stations. If there is non-compliance with the construction noise criteria, there should be more frequent monitoring.
Noise monitoring also requires an Event and Action Plan. It is for both restricted and unrestricted hours. The Environmental Team of Al Qua'a station will adjust measured noise levels to edit out extraneous and background noise levels using the available data (Bonde, 2000). Thereafter, there will be a comparison of the Action and Limit levels. The ET will carry out an investigation to determine if variations are caused by extraneous noise sources or proposed development site activities. In the case where baseline levels exceed the Limit levels, then it triggers an investigation.
Several noise mitigation measures are essential. One of the measures is the use of a quiet plant (silenced equipment). It will lead to a significant reduction in noise levels. Another noise mitigation measure is the use of mobile (movable) barriers (Montague, 2004). They can be used for screening NSRs from some noisy operations or particular plant items. Movable barriers can be placed within a few meters of a stationary plant. Movable barriers can screen some stationary equipment such as compressors and generators and lead to a significant noise reduction. Another measure is the use of temporary noise screening structures (Montague, 2004). Noise screening structures will be built. There should be an inspection of the noise barrier to ensure its effectiveness. Good site practices such as placing noisy equipment off site, minimizing the construction noise exposure, and replacing noisy plant or processes by quieter alternatives, turning of idle equipment, among others.
Operational traffic noise monitoring entails developing a noise monitoring (Montague, 2004). The environmental team carries out the program to ensure the comparability of the traffic noise levels to those predicted by the relevant agencies. Some criteria that can determine the alternative monitoring locations are closeness to noise sensitive receivers, and located in areas with minimal disturbance to the occupants. There is no requirement for baseline operational noise monitoring. Noise monitoring will be in designated traffic noise monitoring stations. For instance, there will be one set of measurements on normal weekdays at the morning traffic peak hours, others in the evening traffic peak hours. There should be a comparison of the measured noise levels and predicted noise levels. Other traffic noise mitigation measures are a package which consists of a combination such as environmentally friendly layout design and a boundary wall.
The monitoring of water quality should start during the initial stages. It will mitigate against pollutants entering the aquatic environment (Choi, 2014; Lawler, 2016). It is necessary to monitor the main discharge points. However, the challenge may be due to property development. Monitoring locations should be identified near where culvert flows enter the current project site (Christen, 2002). Sampling points can include manholes, provided that there is a verification of the sampling team.
The water quality parameters include PH monitoring and dissolved oxygen (Choi, 2014). In areas where there is vehicle repairs, grease and oil will be included. Relevant data will be collected, such as water depth, time, location, temperature, salinity, sea conditions, and any other special phenomena.
The water monitoring equipment include PH meter, turbidity measuring instrument, water sampling equipment, water depth detector, portable salinometer, calibration equipments, among others (Choi, 2014). They should be efficient and be upgraded regularly to enhance optimal performance.
A laboratory analysis will also be conducted. There will be water monitoring locations where there will be baseline, impact, and event and action planning for water quality (Christen, 2002). There should be water quality mitigation measures such as site cleanliness, good surface drainage, oil interceptors, and stockpiles during wet season.
Landscape and Visual
The EM&A should be conducted on landscapes and visual resources during the design, construction, and operational stages of the project Al Qua'a station. There should be a resolution of the potential conflicts between project works and the proposed landscape measures (Milne, 2013). The site audit program should monitor the implementation of the recommended mitigation measures.
Several mitigation measures will be implemented to ameliorate the visual and landscape impacts of the project. Some mitigation measures include planting wide canopied trees, hard and soft landscape treatment, and careful detailing of building blocks.
There should be an audit of the design phase by a qualified landscape auditor to help mitigate any adverse impacts of the scheme (Graham, Young, & Field, 2018). All the levels of monitoring from baseline will also be done.
Environmental monitoring is a crucial tool that is applicable to projects. It enhances environmental functioning and sustainability. It is because most projects have an effect on the environment, and therefore it is necessary for environmental monitoring of projects. There should be an analysis of the potential environmental impacts of a project and possible mitigation strategies devised. The types of parameters depend on the kind of project. Some of the parameters considered in environmental monitoring include air, noise, water, and landscape qualities. It is essential that a certified professional performs the environmental monitoring to achieve credibility and the best results. Environmental monitoring is not a one-time task; it should be continuous throughout all the stages of the project for optimal efficiency.
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