Execution and Management of Monitoring Activities
The development and operation of an Environmental Monitoring Plan requires a wide range of knowledge concerning all the different environmental components.
VDP works in this field since the early 90s, undertaking multidisciplinary environmental monitoring on various important national projects and gaining considerable experience in the various environmental components that compose a monitoring plan. Thanks to the wide experience in the sector and the use of high precision instrumentation, VDP is also able to support Public and Private entities in the different phases of environmental monitoring campaign.
For proper execution of an environmental monitoring campaign it is essential to have a good knowledge of the area, in order to better define the location of the stations of detection. It is then required to proceed with the obtainment of relevant authorizations to place the instrumentation for surveys.
Each environmental component being monitored needs qualified technicians and experts on the field, able to handle both standard activities (according to the environmental component and the equipment used) and any anomalies that may arise from time to time .
The correct correlation between the recorded data and polluting activities in place is of crucial importance for the interpretation of data collected.
Therefore, it is basic to link the monitoring to the relative phase of the investigation.
The overall process of monitoring is generally divided into three phases described below:
- Ante-operam Monitoring : this step aims to provide a snapshot of the status quo, before any change related to works occurs for its development, and it ends before the activation of construction site.
- Monitoring during construction phase: it covers the period of construction of the project, from the opening of construction sites up to their complete dismantling and restoration of sites. This is the phase with the greatest variability as it is closely linked to the advancement of works.
- Post-operam Monitoring: this stage is divided into pre-operation and operation phase of the work, and should absolutely not start before the complete dismantling and restoration of sites. The monitoring duration can last several years after the completion of the Work and is variable depending on the specific environmental component being monitored.
After construction site activities and the removal of equipment used, is performed the processing and display of the monitored data and is drafted a Report according to a format defined from time to time with the Client .
The reporting activity also requires a deep professional knowledge in order to correctly analyze data.
Objectives of the work
The necessity of environmental monitoring can arise from different situations depending on the typology of monitored activities and their localization.
The ultimate objective of a monitoring plan is the evaluation of the environmental consequences connected to the construction and operation of a work. This can be achieved with the implementation of periodic controls, through detection and measurement of specific biological, chemical and physical parameters that characterize the various environmental components.
The exact measurement goals are closely related to the monitoring phase, as briefly explained below:
• Pre-activity monitoring aims to:
- Define appropriate environmental indicators to be monitored and whose evolution should be mentioned in the survey report;
- Serve as a basis for predicting changes due to the construction and operating stages and for proposing suitable measures to be deployed
• In-progress monitoring aims to:
- Report the occurrence of environmental emergencies in order to select the most correct means able to prevent irreversible harmful impacts on the quality of the environment;
- Ensure the monitoring of specific situations in order to adjust the work implementation to particular environmental necessities;
- Verify the effectiveness of the potential mitigation measures.
• Post-activity monitoring aims to:
- Confirm the environmental impacts caused by the activity;
- Ascertain the actual effectiveness of the mitigation measures;
- Determine whether further measurements are needed in order to contain unforeseen impacts.
The generic objectives of Environmental Monitoring Plans can be summarized as follows:
• Test the compliance with the hypothesis made in the Environmental Impact Study (EIS). This monitoring regards only the construction and operational phases;
• Link the diverse monitored stages in order to observe and understand the evolution of the environmental conditions;
• Ensure the complete control of the environmental situation during the construction stage;
• Verify the accuracy of the implemented mitigation measures, and therefore their effectiveness;
• Provide criteria for verification and control of monitoring procedures;
• Perform, during construction and operation, the appropriate verification procedures concerning the compliance with the obligatory requirements and recommendations prescribed by the legislation.
VDP is able to offer total support to both its public and private clients, in the implementation of Environmental Monitoring Plans, from the earliest stages up to the editing of the final reports.
In order to organize this typology of services, VDP can employ a large set of instruments, is capable to manage environmental monitoring networks and can continuously collect, store and transmit environmental data even for prolonged periods. The provided instrumentation allows high performances and remarkable versatility which are both extremely important given the complex analytical problems to face.
VDP performs monitoring activities in different environmental media and with diverse purposes of investigation; in the case of projects regarding infrastructures, the monitoring is carried out during the three stages of pre-construction, in-progress and post-construction.
The key services of the Company in the Environmental Monitoring field are listed below:
• Aquatic system : ground- and surface water;
• Aquatic system: ecosystem;
• Air Quality;
• Noise Pollution;
• Electromagnetic fields;
• Non-ionizing radiation;
• Soil and Subsoil;
• Fauna and Vegetation;
• Waste disposal;
• Traffic and road conditions;
• Social Environment;
• Public health.
Moreover, in recent years VDP has gained important experience regarding the management of monitored data through information systems. In fact it is becoming quite frequent the implementation of digital information systems to manage and share the data of the different environmental components.
In this context, it is simple to notice how, for several years, VDP has been able to manage the largest part of its projects using dedicated Information Systems directly developed for the specific work.