Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA's)

The ENVASS Group has an established environmental authorisations division, serviced by highly qualified and experienced Environmental Assessment Practitioners (EAPs) and consultants. This division has been providing authorisation services to various developers and other industrial clients since 2004.

ENVASS provides the following environmental authorization services:

Environmental Authorisation Applications in terms of the National Environmental Management Act, 1998 (Act No. 107 of 1998) [as amended] (NEMA), including Basic Assessment (BA) and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Processes.

The International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) defines environmental impact assessment as “the process of identifying, predicting, evaluating and mitigating the biophysical, social, and other relevant effects of development proposals prior to major decisions being taken and commitments made.” The purpose of impact assessment is to ensure that decision-makers consider the ensuing environmental impacts when deciding whether to approve an activity being applied for by an applicant. Activities include inter alia, new developments as well as decommissioning activities.

Environmental Authorisation is required in terms of NEMA. The EIA Regulations, 2014, (Government Notice Regulation 326) regulates the BA and EIA processes. Several activities, for which authorisation is required, are listed in three separate listing notices published in terms of NEMA Activities listed in Listing Notices 1 and 3 (Government Regulation 327 & 324 of 2014) require a Basic Assessment process and activities listed in Listing Notice 2 (Government Regulation 325 of 2014) requires a full scoping and EIA process.
Typically, a Basic Assessment is applied to activities that are considered less likely to have significant or irreversible environmental impacts and, therefore, unlikely to require a full-scale and detailed Environmental Impact Assessment. A Basic Assessment Report is a more concise analysis of the environmental impacts of the proposed activity than a Scoping and EIA Report. As a minimum, the Basic Assessment Process requires public notice and participation, consideration of the potential environmental impacts of the activity, assessment of possible mitigation measures, and an assessment of whether there are any significant issues or impacts that might require further investigation.
Waste management in South Africa is complex and has a lot of challenges. Waste management is regulated through the National Environmental Management: Waste Act, 2008 (Act No. 59 of 2008) (NEMWA) (as amended) and its Regulations which aim:
  • To reform the law regulating waste management in order to protect health and the environment by providing reasonable measures for
  • the prevention of pollution and ecological degradation and for securing ecologically sustainable development;
  • To provide for institutional arrangements and planning matters;
  • To provide for national norms and standards for regulating the management of waste by all spheres of government; to provide for
  • specific waste management activities;
  • To provide for the remediation of contaminated land;
  • To provide for the national waste information system;
  • To provide for compliance and enforcement; and
  • To provide for matters connected therewith.
NEMWA and its Regulations apply to companies and persons who:
  • Generate waste
  • Store waste
  • Reuse, recycle, and recover waste
  • Transport waste
  • Treat waste
  • Dispose of waste
  • Store, treat, and process animal waste
  • Construct, expand, or decommission facilities and associated structures and infrastructure for waste management.
In support of your Compliance requirements with NEMWA and its Regulations, ENVASS can assist you the any of the following:
  • Waste Management License (WML) Applications
  • Waste Stream Identification
  • Waste Classification and Management**
  • Waste Information Systems
  • Compliance Auditing
  • Integrated Waste Management Plans (IWMPs)
  • Integrated Waste and Water Management Plans (IWWMPs)
** Waste Classification and Management
The Waste Classification and Management Regulations were promulgated in terms of NEMWA in Aug 2013. These Regulations apply uniformly in South Africa to all waste generators, waste transporters, and waste managers. To this effect, waste generators must ensure that the waste they generate is classified in accordance with SANS 10234 within 180 days of generation. SANS 10234 – GHS (Global Harmonised System) Classification system – for the classification of hazardous substances and mixtures, including wastes according to Physical, Health, and Aquatic Environment Hazards.
Water Use Licence Applications and associated impact assessments in terms of the National Water Act, 1998 (Act No. 36 of 1998) [as amended] (NWA).

Authorization for certain water uses is required by the NWA. Section 21 of the act, lists eleven consumptive and non-consumptive water uses that cannot be implemented without a WUL or General Authorisation. Water uses below a certain threshold are authorised under General Authorisations, published in the National Gazette, however, they still need to be registered with the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS). Water uses above the threshold requires an application for a Water Use Licence from DWS.
Activities needing authorisation typically include inter alia:
  • Abstraction of water;
  • Storing of water;
  • Irrigation of treated water;
  • Any activities within a watercourse or wetland and their Zone of Regulation;
  • Any discharge of waste or water containing waste within an aquatic system;
  • Settling ponds, pollution control dams, tailings storage facilities, waste rock dumps, etc.;
  • Dewatering of mines for the continuation of mining or the safety of people.
An Environmental Management program (EMPr) can be defined as “an environmental management tool used to ensure that undue or reasonably avoidable adverse impacts of the construction, operation, and decommissioning of a project are prevented; and that the positive benefits of the projects are enhanced”. EMPr’s are therefore important tools for ensuring that the management actions arising from Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) processes are clearly defined and implemented through all phases of the project life cycle. The contents of an EMPr are prescribed in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Regulations of 2014, Government Notice R (GNR). 326, as promulgated in terms of the National Environmental Management Act. With our team of professionals, ENVASS recognises that the compilation of EMPr’s provides an opportunity to assist our clients to achieve cost-effective solutions, in conjunction with improvements in environmental performance. EMPr’s can be developed as part of a Basic Assessment or Scoping and EIA Process, or as a stand-alone document for implementation during the construction and operational phases of a development project.

Legislative, operational, or industry requirements may also prompt an EMPr to be amended or updated. As a result, a Part 1 or Part 2 Amendment Application is submitted in terms of the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations of 2014, GNR 326.
Waste Licence Applications and the associated Basic Assessment or Scoping and Environmental Impact Assessment Process in terms of the National Environmental: Waste Management Act, 2008 (Act No. 59 of 2008) [as amended] (NEMWA)
A Waste Management Licence (WML) is required in terms of NEMWA and associated regulations and notices. Several waste activities are listed in three separate lists. Category A activities require a Basic Assessment Process and Category B listed activities require a Scoping and EIA process to be followed. Category C listed activities do not need to apply for a WML, however, has to conform to certain practices, norms, and standards promulgated in terms of NEMWA. ENVASS also offers waste classification services. More information on waste classification can be obtained here. (insert a link to specialist studies – waste classification).
Waste has to be classified in accordance with the National Environmental Management: Waste Act (Act 59 of 2008) [as amended] (NEMWA) Waste Classification and Management Regulations (Government Notice 634 – 635 of 2013) to determine the necessary liner requirements and related disposal mechanisms and methods for an identified waste type, for waste facilities. ENVASS collects samples of waste and contracts a registered laboratory to conduct tests on the waste samples in order to obtain concentrations of parameters, which can be used to classify waste.
Air pollution affects everyone and normally occurs when there is a change in the composition of the ambient air quality. This can be caused by smoke, dust, gasses, fumes, aerosols, and odorous substances. The National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act (Act No. 39 of 2004) NEMAQA) defines air quality that is not harmful to the health and well-being of the environment through ambient air quality standards. NEMAQA provides for the control and management of emissions relating to the listing of activities that requires the issuing of emission licenses. In terms of NEM: AQA Section 22, no person may conduct an activity listed on the national list (or provincial list) without an approved atmospheric emission license. In addition, the Minister may in terms of Section 29(1) (a) declare any substance contributing to air pollution as a priority pollutant. Any emitters of these priority pollutants will be required to implement a Pollution Prevention Plan. ENVASS has experienced in-house air quality specialists that will be able to conduct the Atmospheric Emission License process in a professional manner to add value to client's operations.
The Public Participation Process (PPP) is one of the most important aspects of the environmental authorisation process. It is so important that it is the only requirement for which exemption cannot be given. The main reason for this is that people have a right to be informed about potential decisions that may affect them and to be afforded an opportunity to influence those decisions. Effective Public Participation also facilitates informed decision-making by the competent authority and results in an improved decision that includes the views of all parties involved. The Basis for the Public Participation process is prescribed in the National Environmental Management Act, 1998 (Act No 107 of 1998) (NEMA).
Public participation is included in the following legislation as a statutory requirement:
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