Habitats assessment for four closed landfills

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Courtesy of ESI Ltd - Environment Specialists

Client: Environment Agency

Location: Southern England (Solent)

Services: Controlled water and ecological risk assessment, data review and interpretation

Issues: Potential impact of Waste Management Licensed sites on ecologically sensitive sites. Potential risk to groundwater, surface water and dependant ecosystems.

Summary: ESI assessed the potential impact of the landfills on the relevant controlled waters and ecologically sensitive sites. A thorough desk study covering all aspects (historical, hydrogeological and hydrochemical) of the site was undertaken. Site-specific conceptual models and appropriate quantitative risk assessment models were developed.

The risk assessments indicated varying levels of risk, with two of the sites posing particular problems in their localities. The client benefited from ESI’s close communication with the Regulator, which facilitated the production of the necessary deliverables within tight time scales.

The client had carried out a review of consents in part of southern England, which had determined that four Waste Management Licensed sites (including both closed and operational sites) were likely to be having a significant effect on the interest features of a number of Special Protection Areas (SPA) or Special Areas of Conservation (SAC).

ESI was asked to complete a Stage 3 assessment for each of the four sites to assess the potential impact of the landfills on the ecological quality and interest features of the conservation sites. 

The scope of work included assessing whether the ecological quality and interest features of coastal sites were being adversely affected by the four landfills, and determining the likely impact of these landfills on the interest features of the area of the Solent.

ESI assessed the historical development of the landfills and the regional and local hydrogeological and hydrochemical data provided from various sources.  For each site, the available data were used to develop a site-specific conceptual model.  The conceptual model was in turn used to develop a quantitative risk assessment model.  The results of the quantitative risk assessment model are used to help assess the level of risk each site poses to the identified receptors.  The risk assessments indicated varying levels of risk, with two of the sites posing particular problems in their localities.

Throughout the project close communication with the Agency’s Project Manager was maintained, which greatly facilitated the smooth production of outputs to a tight schedule.

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