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Surface Water Quality

Our specialists monitor surface water quality all over the country in a variety of different flowing and stagnant water resources. Modern equipment is used to sample water according to internationally accepted methodologies to avoid cross-contamination, preserve the state of water chemistry and ensure accurate analysis. ENVASS utilises both physical water sampling techniques as well as advanced & automated in-stream analysis equipment, utilising GPS tracking, quality probes and data loggers. All physical samples are analysed at SANAS-accredited laboratories to ensure accuracy and provide assurance towards absolute independence and scientific integrity.

Groundwater Quality

Similar to surface water quality monitoring, our specialists utilise only the best equipment to sample and store water samples. Sampling methodologies are internally audited to ensure compliance with internationally (and nationally) accepted sampling techniques. ENVASS utilised discreet interval samplers approved by competent authorities. Discreet interval samplers ensure that water at different depths in a borehole is not contaminated by water other than the actual groundwater (water from the aquifer). With specialised depth meters, the levels of groundwater in boreholes are also measured as this can have an influence on quality.

Air Quality

ENVASS utilises state of the art equipment to measure for a variety of pollutants in the atmosphere. Each study is tailored to a client’s needs and in almost all cases, trends and patterns can be determined in order for clients to optimise air quality management in their direct vicinities. The company performs these studies according to commitments in atmospheric emissions licenses (AELs), records of decision (RODs) from various state entities, as baseline studies (following the responsible “preventative principle”), as specialist studies forming part of environmental impact assessments (EIAs) and for whichever other reasons our clients may require.

Dust Fall-out

Dust can become a nuisance when the amount of dust generated by certain activities, affect the performance of other activities or if the natural environment is negatively affected by the dust fallout. This includes human health and well being as priority. When dust-generating activities are unregulated it will only become a much larger issue which will ultimately lead to major pollution of
the receiving environment. ENVASS monitors mining, construction, railway, cement production, stockpile sorting facilities and more on a monthly basis and in at least 5 of South Africa’s provinces, with ample resources for expansion. ENVASS does all possible analyses on dust,
tailored after client requirements. All results are from a reputable SANAS-accredited laboratory.

Bio-monitoring

Assessment of the aquatic ecosystem will thus entail the characterisation of the aquatic environment, aquatic habitat and associated biota during two seasons (i.e. wet and dry). In order to enable an adequate description of the aquatic environment and the determination of the present ecological state, the following stressor, habitat and response indicators will be evaluated:

  • To highlight current and potential threats to water quality and stream condition.
  • To gather information regarding upstream and downstream conditions, point and non-point pollution sources, water usage etc., and translate it into information that may be used to measure the compliance between the goals set and the (environmental) conditions in the aquatic system.
  • To assimilate baseline information with regard to present health status, as well as to determine optimal water quality and hence desired future state.
  • To isolate point source impacts and assess the nature of these impacts.
  • To provide management recommendations with regard to corrective action.
  • To provide a basis against which future corrective action within a catchment can be measured.
  • To ensure integration with the National River Health Programme at National, Regional and Local levels, as well as across the different sectors.
  • SASS5 Index (plus family composition)
  • Habitat Quality Index (HQI) (plus impacts)
  • Chemical and physical variables such as pH, Temperature, Salinity, Conductivity (TDS), turbidity (TSS), Dissolved oxygen (DO), Sedimentation, Stream width, depth, riffles, runs, velocity, scouring and deposition.
  • Comprehensive report with result analysis and recommendations

Toxicology Testing

Toxicology is the scientific study of adverse effects that occur in living organisms due to chemicals. It involves observing and reporting symptoms, mechanisms, detection, and treatments of toxic substances, in particular, relation to the poisoning of the aquatic system(s). ENVASS utilises accredited laboratories for standard internationally accepted toxicology methods in order to conduct acute and short chronic toxicity testing and hazard classification on water, based on 4 trophic levels (4 taxonomic groups – depending on the client’s needs) on the requested sites/samples.

 

Acute (and short-chronic) toxicity testing is applied by exposing biota to water sources in order to determine the potential risk of such waters to the biota/biological integrity of the receiving water bodies. A risk category is determined based on the percentage of mortalities (or inhibition stimulation) of the exposed biota. Common tests include standardised acute and chronic toxicity tests lasting 24–96 hours (acute test) to 7 days or more (chronic tests).

 

These tests measure endpoints such as survival, growth, reproduction, that are measured at each concentration in a gradient, along with a control test.

 

After toxicology tests are performed by the laboratory the following categorisations can be made:

DEEEP Assessments

Direct Estimation of Ecological Effect Potential (DEEEP). Traditional substance-specific assessments of wastewater discharges have limitations. Accordingly, a new approach to assessing the toxicity of whole effluents has been proposed [DWAF 2003c]. Effect-based hazard assessments of effluents can provide insight into the combined effects of both known and unknown hazardous substances (and their interactions, either synergistic or antagonistic) in a mixture.

Baseline Assessments

AIR QUALITY BASELINE ASSESSMENT
Establishing the current ambient air quality for an area is termed the characterisation of baseline conditions and is undertaken by assessing ambient monitored and measured of the Ambient Air Quality of an area. All monitoring is done in accordance with the given SANS and ISO standards to ensure high quality data. Monitoring and Measurement data provided for assessment can be presented in annual, biannual or quarterly reports or just as a Baseline Assessment. Data that can be used in the establishment of a Baseline Assessment of a development included but not limited to:

 

Passive Sampling
Gravimetrical Dust Fallout – (milligram/square meter/day) or (mg/m2/day)

 

Indicative Active Sampling

  • Dust- PM10 (milligram/cubic meter) or (mg/m3)
  • CO2- (ppm)
  • CO – (ppm)
  • VOC- (ppm)

 

Passive Diffuse Sampling

  • Hydrogen Fluoride – HF in Microgram/Cubic Meter (ug/m3)
  • Nitrogen Dioxide – NO2 in Microgram/Cubic Meter (ug/m3)
  • Sulphur Dioxide – SO2 in Microgram/Cubic Meter (ug/m3)
  • Hydrogen Sulphide – H2S in Microgram/Cubic Meter (ug/m3)

 

Other Parameters:

  • BTEX (Benzene, toluene, ethylbenze, and xylenes)
  • Phenol (Hydroxyl group (-OH) bonded directly to an aromatic hydrocarbon group)

 

Humidity and temperature:
Environmental Assurance provides more than just compliance with legislation; clients are helped in site layout and monitoring to provide them the environment they want tomorrow.

 

SURFACE WATER QUALITY BASELINE ASSESSMENT
Surface water samples are carried out by trained technical personnel in accordance with SANS standards. Environmental Assurance is experienced in establishment of surface water monitoring programs, placement of sampling points and the interpretation of surface water quality results. SANAS-accredited laboratories are used to analyse samples. Monitoring data is interpreted with respect to EMPs, water use licenses and other compliance objectives. The results of water quality monitoring are illustrated using graphs and site maps to ensure that our clients are fully aware of all water quality issues. The results, interpretation and recommendations are presented in monthly, quarterly or annual reports, trends and outlying results are used in these reports to determine pollution sources. Surface Water Monitoring Programs could consist out of water chemistry monitoring, physical parameters and biological monitoring.

 

Other monitoring that can be done in conjunction with surface water monitoring is;

  • Stream flow rates
  • SAS5 Assessment (River health assessment)
  • Bio-monitoring

 

Surface Water Quality Reports includes;

  • Monthly monitoring reports
  • Quarterly monitoring reports
  • Annual Water Quality Reports
  • Baseline Surface Water Quality Assessment
  • Surface Water Management Plan

 

GROUNDWATER BASELINE ASSESSMENT
Groundwater level and water quality monitoring is performed to establish the depth of the boreholes, if the water levels are fluctuating due to natural seasonal changes or due to external conditions, and to determine the associated aquifer water quality. Data is then used to determine
trends and to establish possible causes of any fluctuations occurring in groundwater levels and associated water qualities. Water levels are used to determine the direction groundwater flow and a quality analysis is utilised to determine possible impacts and the possible impact sources (Up- or downstream).

 

Other monitoring that can be done in conjunction with surface water monitoring is;

  • Hydro Census (Water Level Monitoring);
  • Aquifer Parameter Determination;
  • Groundwater Sampling (Quality Analysis); and
  • Aquifer Flow Determination.

 

Groundwater Quality Reports includes;

  • Monthly monitoring reports;
  • Baseline Groundwater level and Quality Assessments;
  • Quarterly monitoring reports;
  • Groundwater Level Management Plans; and
  • Annual Water Quality Reports.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL NOISE BASELINE ASSESSMENTS

  • Noise Monitoring
  • Noise Propagation Modelling and Assessment

 

Sewage and effluent

Sewage and Effluent Analysis and Studies:
Analysis:

  • Dissolved oxygen, BOD, COD, TOC, DOC, pH etc;
  • Nutrients (NH3, NH4+ NO3, NO2-N, PO4-P, SRP etc.);
  • Major Cations and anions;
  • Microbiological:
    • total coliforms;
    • faecal coliforms;
    • Escherichia coli (E. coli); and
    • general plate counts.
  • Phenols
  • Trace metals.

 

Studies:

  • Environmental Contamination Studies;
  • Water Quality Surveys;
  • Biological Surveys;
  • Potential Productivity and Eutrophication Assessments;
  • Development and Implementation of Surface and Groundwater Monitoring Programs;
  • Ecological Impact Studies;
  • Potential Sewage Seepage Studies.

Other services

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