The «Institute of Environmental Survey, Planning and Assessment» delivers services on implementation of integral ecological assessment of different exploitation areas (industrial areas, agricultural lands, zones of prospective development) in compliance with Russian and international guidelines’ requirements.
The aim of ecological assessment is identification of environmental degradation factors, caused by contemporary or past industrial and other activities within the territory of the assessed object or adjacent areas.
The evidence of degradation in such cases is the presence of any hazardous elements in amounts at which an excessive emission of discharge might appear within the object’s area. Major damage can be caused if these elements migrate to the soil, ground and surface water. Along with the determination of possible damage, the evidence of destruction of natural environment, which is connected with past human activity, is identified within the territory of the assessed object. The testaments may have not only a present-day but also a historical meaning. The results are intended to provide the owner with the information for risk assessment, related to past, present-day or proposed activity in the object. It allows to conduct the correct assessment of the price or value of the object, including costs associated with potential or existing ecological problems, to establish meaningful mutual relations with supervisory authority.
During the proposed assessment the following tasks are handled:
- Analysis of the available information on the state of the natural environment in the object area;
- Collection of information on past usage of the territory of the object and adjacent areas;
- Inspection of the assessed object with a thorough examination of all buildings and communication lines and identification of signs of environmental degradation within the territory of the object;
- Consulting with the workers who are in charge of the environmental protection department or are engaged in exploitation of the industrial features;
- Collection and analysis of the ecological documentation of the company, which includes: 1) the results of the previous surveys; 2) data on environmental monitoring; 3) site plans; 4) instructions of the supervisory authority, related to identified violations of environmental protection conditions within the assessed object area.
The key aspects of implementation of ecological assessment are the following:
- Legal status and land use provisions;
- Energy supply and emission of pollutants in the atmosphere;
- Raw materials management;
- Waste management;
- Transport infrastructure, equipment usage;
- Water supply, water discharge and waste water disposal;
- Repair, construction and associated works;
- Protection of labour and industrial security, directly associated with environmental safety and ecological concerns of performing current or proposed industrial activity;
- Generalization of all received data, report preparation, making recommendations and a blueprint for action (in particular, the relevancy of implementation of environmental engineering survey for contamination hazard assessment of nature).
The most typical ecological problems of Russian large and medium-sized enterprises, which have operated for a long time, are the following:
- discrepancy between environmental protection documentation and regulatory requirements (insufficiency or low quality of reported data, lost record data, absence or overdue licenses);
- unauthorized disposal in areas of natural habitat and absence of appropriate environmental control or means of immediate contamination removal;
- deficiency of environmental observation network;
- unfavorable natural neighbourhoods of enterprise allocation and inadequacy of countermeasures for hazardous factors of natural habitat (waterlogging, erosion or other exogenic processes, potential toxicity of soils and ground waters, vicinity to Special Protected Natural Areas or other impact sources);
- inadequate qualifications of the enterprise staff, who are in charge of management and implementation of environment protection measures and collaboration with controlling entities, engaged in monitoring performance;
- refusal to follow the instructions of the controlling entities, regarding revealed violations of environment protection laws and health and safety norms;
- exploitation of dangerous industrial objects without appropriate control;
- failure to follow SNiP of environment protection regulations during construction works;
- excess impact of hazardous factors on the staff resulting from the absence of quantitative data on the consequences of this impact and means of protection from it.
The existence of any problems listed above in the extensive industrial areas poses a threat to the adjoining areas. The analysis of the problem along with elaboration of the recommendations and blueprint of actions is also one of the purposes of the environmental assessment.