In accordance with section 67 of the Federal Law of the Russian Federation, «On Environmental Protection», the implementation of environmental monitoring and control is appropriate for the purpose of supporting the measures taken for environmental protection, sustainable nature management and meeting regulatory compliance requirements.
The main objectives of environmental monitoring and control are:
- detection and prevention of regulatory requirements violation;
- compliance with the project decisions in the environmental protection sphere of the organization, which undertakes construction and assembly work;
- performance of independent ecological audit of the activity of the responsible organization.
The underlying principles of environmental monitoring implementation include the following:
- independent control in the environmental protection sphere;
- estimation of the environmental threat from the projected activity;
- prohibition on industrial and other activities, whose impacts on the natural environment are unpredictable and execution of projects, which might lead to degradation of natural ecological systems, change and eradication of genetic flora and fauna heritage, depletion of natural resources and other adverse changes of the environment;
- responsibility for violation of legislation on environmental protection.
The types of work, performed in environmental control, include the following:
- control of the legislation compliance in the environmental protection sphere;
- control of adherence to the terms, indicated in the expert’s conclusion and conditions of environmental management that are contained in permissions, licenses and standards relating to the environmental protection sphere and sustainable nature management;
- control of implementation of actions on natural environment protection, sustainable use and rehabilitation of natural resources in complete compliance with design documentation.
The following methods are used during the performance of environmental control:
- cartographic methods, using the remote sensing data;
- analysis of documentation;
- field observation;
- photo survey;
- instrumental measurements;
- experts’ assessments;
- paperwork management.
Inspection criteria are underpinned by the following requirements:
- the legislative requirements of the Russian Federation and its regions, technical guidelines, and national standards;
- specifications of design documentation;
- requests of the construction project owner.
A major goal of environmental monitoring is to obtain verifiable information on the state of the environment during the construction works. This information is relevant for managerial decision-making, related to environmental protection activity.
The specialists engaged in execution of environmental monitoring focus on the following objectives:
- qualitative and quantitative control of the ecological state of the components of the ecosystem;
- integral assessment of the ecosystem’s changes during the operational period;
- forecast of the development of natural and human systems, originating from work activity;
- identification of ecological risk zones;
- development of measures taken on reduction and prevention of adverse effects on the environment during the construction period.
Environmental monitoring includes the following actions:
- organized and coherent control of qualitative and quantitative parameters of the natural environment’s components in the places, where sources of hazardous impact are located or where that potential impact may be felt;
- control over the implementation and effectiveness of recommendations on conservation and restoration of the state of the natural environment.
The implementation of environmental monitoring also provides the following advantages:
- to assess the ecological situation within the inspected district during the implementation of the project;
- to aid ensuring adherence to the requirements of the current environmental protection legislation;
- to elaborate preventive recommendations on the suitable adjustment of industrial activity with the intention of ensuring a permissible level of impact on the natural environment;
- to assess the human-made impacts on the environment during the constructional and operational periods;
- to create databases of the ecological state of the terrain being surveyed.
The observations aim to measure qualitative and quantitative parameters of the state of the natural environment in compliance with the Programme.
The underlying principles of the elaboration of an observation programme, including determination of monitored parameters, tools and methods of control, are listed below:
1. Integration monitoring
Observation of the natural environment must embrace all its components (the atmosphere, water, soils and rocks, surface relief). It is essential due to the wide range of possible impacts of construction activity and strong biocommunication between natural terrain components, when the changes of one inevitably entail the changes of the other.
2. Impartiality of the implemented works
The data must be verifiable and properly reflect the changes. This might extend its range of application: e. g. the elaboration of environmental protection measures, or establishment of a regional monitoring network, based on the obtained information.
Assurance of impartiality must be reached on practical and organizational levels of monitoring work performance (using approved methods of collection, processing and accumulation of information or application of laboratory equipment, which has appropriate certificate).
3. Continuity of monitoring performance
Monitoring continuity is ensured, owning to surveillance of the dynamics of the natural habitat, over the different stages of the construction work. Data on natural habitat state until the construction works begin, received during the implementation of environmental monitoring and control or assessment of environmental baseline conditions, is used as basic information. Monitoring of environmental changes in account of construction activity implements in the framework of environmental monitoring. Received data enable the specialists to predict environmental changes due to building activity or to elaborate mitigation measures. In addition, the continuity of monitoring performance provides the opportunity to meet the challenges in ecological sphere (assessments, forecasts, analysis).
4. Monitoring sufficiency
Collected data must give a complete picture and inform about all relevant existing natural processes. Monitoring sufficiency depends on the amount of conducted research and the correct chosen stations, itineraries and location of monitoring. Planning the locations of the monitoring stations should be implemented, with regard to the spatial distribution of industrial objects and natural-territorial condition.
Environmental monitoring comprises of three types of observations:
- regular surveillance in monitoring stations;
- operational observations (in the accidentally polluted areas);
- special observations (due to, for example, to an increasing significance of some human-induced impact or excessive contamination of natural habitat).
The specialists of the «Institute of Environmental Survey, Planning and Assessment» have accomplished the following works:
- Environmental monitoring and control of compliance with the requirements of legislation on environmental protection during the construction of compressor plants as a part of the project «Construction of main gasline Bovanenkovo-Ukhta» (the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District, the Komi Republic);
- Environmental monitoring and control of compliance with the requirements of legislation on environmental protection during the construction of the objects of the project «Extension of the united gas pipeline system of the Russian Federation for gas supply in «The South Stream» (the Voronezh Region, the Rostov Region, the Krasnodar Territory);
- Implementation of environmental monitoring during the construction of the object «Provision of the necessary facilities for Jubileynoe oil-gas condensate field» (the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District).