The 6 Steps to Meeting Your Environmental Compliance Monitoring Objectives – PART 1

When you’re starting a new project it can be daunting to work out what you need to do to meet your environmental compliance obligations.

Then actually getting your plan implemented can be a whole other challenge, regardless if you’re in the mining, construction or infrastructure industries.

So we’ve put together a quick checklist of the key issues to help you get started.

1. What parameters do you measure?

This is usually the easy bit – your operating licence will dictate what you need to measure.

But in some cases you may want to consider additional measurements to those strictly required.

Why?

There are many reasons, but here’s two of the main ones.

Before you start operations it’s useful to undertake background measurements to understand the local environment. For example, are you in an area that already experiences significant vibrations? It will be important to know that before you commence work – before someone suggests you’re the issue.

Although your operating licence will probably not require you to monitor weather conditions, you should consider it. Understanding the local conditions may help you with operations. For example, if there are strong winds around, you may not want to plan an activity that generates dust.

2. Where do you monitor them?

While your operating licence may say something like “vibration levels at the site must not exceed x mm/s”, it won’t actually tell you where to set up your monitors.

Here are a few things to think about when you’re choosing the exact location to mount each monitor:

  • Make sure there is adequate signal strength for your data reporting,
  • Make sure trees and other structures do not inhibit your solar panels,
  • Make sure there are no structures nearby that could skew the levels being recorded by the sensors.

3. How do you monitor them?

More and more of our clients are moving to a turnkey service agreement. With this agreement you pay a monthly fee and we look after everything – the installation of the monitors, their maintenance and calibration, and the retrieval and presentation of all the data.

This gives clients peace of mind because all the details of the installation and reporting are simply handed over to an expert and your costs are fixed for the duration of the contract.

If you’re someone that takes a more traditional approach and likes to own the monitors, then the key things to think about are:

  • Compliance: Is the monitor compliant with the relevant monitoring standard, for example AS 2187.2 2006?
  • Installation: How do you ensure that the monitor is installed correctly?
  • Calibration: How often does the monitor require calibration, and how will you manage the downtime when this is taking place?
  • Data Purpose: Do you want data that will stand up in a court or will indicative data be sufficient? Many monitor types produce indicative data, but few to a standard that will stand up in a court.
  • Data: How do you retrieve the data from the monitor? Do you have to do that in person or can you do it remotely?
  • Security: Is this available through existing structures or does it need to be incorporated into the monitor housing?
  • Support: Can you get expert support whenever you need it?

Stay tuned for Part 2 where we will look at the remaining 3 Steps to Meeting Your Environmental Compliance.