The environmental impact of conducting environmental work
Ben T. Foster

Performing environment-related work creates environmental impacts. Assessment and remedial activities consume natural resources, produce waste products, and create exposures. Activities such as drilling, well installation, sampling, dewatering, excavation, treatment, and disposal require equipment,
material, fuel, air, and water. These resources are consumed by the environmental work, leaving air emissions, wastewater discharges, and soil and material waste streams that then must be dealt with. Assessment and remediation activities also result in exposing contaminants of concern to the environment.

In many cases, subsurface soil and groundwater impacts do not represent either an immediate or practical long-term exposure concern prior to the initiation of such work. While it is true that the performance of almost any activity has an associated environmental impact, projects such as building a
road, a bridge, or a school are not conducted under the onus of protecting the environment. Prior to the consideration of non-time-critical projects such as the clean-up of an MGP site, a resource, risk, and remediation evaluation should be conducted. This kind of evaluation would show that many
environmental projects should be limited or not performed.

This discussion describes the means for evaluating the impact of conducting environmental work. This includes the calculation of direct and indirect resource consumption, the calculation of waste streams, and the calculation of exposure. The technical arguments provided by such an evaluation
could assist with expediting and economizing overall environmental liabilities.

Key words: environmental impacts, evaluation, exposure, investigation, remediation

Land Contamination & Reclamation, 14 (2), 218-224

DOI 10.2462/09670513.710

© 2007 EPP Publications Ltd

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Article code 710