3    environmental Monitoring and audit Measures


3.1    Introduction


This EIA Study has focused on the prediction and mitigation of the potential impacts associated with the construction and operation of the Project.  One of the key outputs has been recommendations on the mitigation measures to be adopted in order to ensure that residual impacts comply with regulatory requirements plus the requirements of the EIAO TM.  The findings and recommendations of this EIA will form the basis on which CEDD’s environmental performance will be judged during the detailed design, construction and operation of the Project.  To ensure effective and timely implementation of the mitigation measures, it is considered necessary to develop Environmental Monitoring and Audit (EM&A) procedures and mechanisms by which the Implementation Schedule (Annex E) may be tracked and its effectiveness assessed. 


3.1.1    Implementation of EIA Findings and Recommendations


This EIAFSS Report has, where appropriate, identified and recommended the implementation of mitigation measures in order to minimise the potential construction and operational impacts of the Project.  These findings and recommendations form the primary deliverable from the whole EIA process.  Once endorsed by the EPD, they will form an agreement between the Project Proponent (ie CEDD) and the EPD as to the measures and standards that are to be achieved.  It is, therefore, essential that mechanisms are put in place to ensure that the mitigation measures prescribed in the Implementation Schedule are fully and effectively implemented during dredging, backfilling and capping. 


3.1.2    Statutory Requirements


As the Project constitutes a Designated Project under the EIAO by virtue of Item C (Reclamation, Hydraulic and Marine Facilities, Dredging and Dumping), Item C.10 (A Marine Dumping Area) and C.12 (A Dredging Operation Exceeding 500,000 m3) of Part I of Schedule 2, an Environmental Permit must be obtained before construction or operation of the facility. 


Upon approval of the EIA Report, CEDD can apply for an Environmental Permit.  If the application is successful, the Environmental Permit will, in most circumstances, have conditions attached to it, which must be complied with.  In addition, CEDD and its appointed Contractors must also comply with all other controlling environmental legislation and guidelines, which are discussed within the specific technical chapters of this report.  Failing to comply with these legislative requirements could lead to prosecution under the various Pollution Control Ordinances.


3.2    Environmental Management Plan


For construction and operation of the Contaminated Mud Disposal Facility, it is envisaged that the contractual documentation will require CEDD’s Contractors to define mechanisms for achieving the environmental requirements.  This will most likely be achieved by requiring the Contractor to produce and implement an Environmental Management Plan (EMP).  


EMP’s are similar in nature to safety or quality plans and provide details of the means by which the Contractor (and all subcontractors working for the Contractor) will implement the recommended mitigation measures and achieve the environmental performance standards defined both in Hong Kong environmental legislation and in the Implementation Schedule (Annex E).  A primary reason for adopting the EMP approach is to make sure that the Contractor is fully aware of his environmental responsibilities and to ensure his commitment to achieving the specified standards.


The EMP approach is grounded on the principle that the Contractor shall define the means by which the environmental requirements of the EIA process, and the contractual documentation shall be met.  In the first instance, each Tenderer shall be required to produce a preliminary EMP for submission as part of the tendering process; the skeletal EMP will demonstrate the determination and commitment of the organisation and indicate how the environmental performance requirements laid out in the available EIA documentation will be met.  It is recommended that this aspect be included as a specific criterion in the assessment of tender documents; this will act as a clear indication to all Tenderers of CEDD’s commitment to the minimisation and management of environmental impacts.  Upon Contract Award, the successful Tenderer shall be required to submit a draft and final version of the EMP for the approval of CEDD prior to the commencement of the works.


3.3    EM&A Manual


The EM&A Manual has the same purpose of defining the mechanisms for implementing the EM&A requirements specific to each phase of the work.

The EM&A Manual provides a description of the organisational arrangements and resources required for the EM&A programme based on the conclusions and recommendations of this EIA.  The EM&A Manual stipulates details of the monitoring required, and actions that shall be taken in the event of exceedances of the environmental criteria.  In effect, the EM&A Manual forms a handbook for the on-going environmental management during construction and operation of the proposed contaminated mud disposal facility.


The EM&A Manual comprises descriptions of the key elements of the EM&A programme including:


·        appropriate background information on the construction of the Project with reference to relevant technical reports;

·        organisational arrangements, hierarchy and responsibilities with regard to the management of environmental performance functions during the construction phase to include the EM&A team, the Contractor’s team and the CEDD’s representatives;

·        a broad works programme indicating those activities for which specific mitigation is required, as recommended in the EIA, and providing a schedule for their timely implementation;

·        descriptions of the parameters to be monitored and criteria through which performance will be assessed including: monitoring frequency and methodology, monitoring locations (in the first instance, the location of sensitive receivers as listed in the EIA), monitoring equipment lists, event contingency plans for exceedances of established criteria and schedule of mitigation and best practice methods for minimising adverse environmental impacts;

·        procedures for undertaking on-site environmental performance audits as a means of ensuring compliance with environmental criteria; and

·        reporting procedures.


The EM&A Manual will be a dynamic document which will undergo a series of revisions to accommodate the progression of the works programme.


3.3.1    Objectives of EM&A


The objectives of carrying out EM&A for the Project include:


·       to provide baseline information against which any short or long term environmental impacts of the projects can be determined;

·       to provide an early indication should any of the environmental control measures or practices fail to achieve the acceptable standards;

·       to monitor the performance of the Project and the effectiveness of mitigation measures;

·       to verify the environmental impacts predicted in the EIA Study;

·       to determine Project compliance with regulatory requirements, standards and government policies;

·       to take remedial action if unexpected problems or unacceptable impacts arise; and

·       to provide data to enable an environmental audit to be undertaken at regular intervals.


The following sections summarise the recommended EM&A requirements, further details are provided in the separate EM&A Manual.


3.4    Water Quality


Water quality monitoring will be required for the following activities:


·                Dredging of each Pit;

·                Backfilling of each Pit with Contaminated Mud; and

·                Capping of each Pit with Uncontaminated Mud and/or Natural Uncontaminated Soil.


Water quality monitoring results will be compared to Action and Limit levels to determine whether impacts associated with the works are acceptable.  An Event and Action Plan provides procedures to be undertaken when monitoring results exceed Action or Limit levels.  The procedures are designed to ensure that if any significant exceedances occur (either accidentally or through inadequate implementation of mitigation measures on the part of the Contractor), the cause is quickly identified and remedied, and that the risk of a similar event re-occurring is reduced.


Action and Limit levels will be used to determine whether modifications to the works activities are required.  Action and Limit levels are environmental quality standards chosen such that their exceedance indicates potential deterioration of the environment.  Exceedance of Action levels can result in an increase in the frequency of environmental monitoring, modification of operations and implementation of the proposed mitigation measures.  Exceedance of Limit levels indicates a greater potential deterioration in environmental conditions and may require the cessation of works unless appropriate remedial actions, including a critical review of plant and working methods, are undertaken.  Before works commence one month of baseline monitoring should be undertaken at stations in the vicinity of the Pits and in Reference areas. 

A monitoring programme examining sediment quality will also be instituted to verify the EIA predictions and ensure that there is no build-up in contamination adjacent to the pits.


The full details of the EM&A programme for water and sediment quality is presented in the EM&A Manual for this Project.


3.5    Marine Ecology


The dredging and disposal operations have been shown to proceed at rates that maintain environmental impacts to within acceptable levels.  Actual impacts during the lifetime of the facility will be monitored by recording impacts to water quality.  Monitoring and audit activities designed to detect and mitigate any unacceptable impacts to water quality will also serve to protect against unacceptable impacts to marine ecological resources. 

In addition to the water quality monitoring programme, monitoring of sediment toxicity is recommended to ensure that the disposal activities are not causing sediments adjacent to the pits to become toxic to marine life.  This programme will employ standard techniques for sediment toxicity testing which are detailed in full in the EM&A Manual. 


The EIA has indicated that benthic fauna are expected to recolonise the pits following capping with uncontaminated mud and/or natural uncontaminated soil.  In order to verify this assessment a benthic recolonisation programme has also been recommended.  The full details of the EM&A programme for marine ecology are presented in the EM&A Manual.


3.6    Fisheries


The water quality monitoring programme will provide management actions and supplemental mitigation measures to be employed should impacts arise, thereby ensuring the environmental acceptability of the Project.  As impacts to the fisheries resources and fishing operations are small and of short duration, the development and implementation of a monitoring and audit programme specifically designed to assess the effects on commercial fisheries resources is not deemed necessary.


3.7    Hazard to Health


The EIA has indicated that the consumption of seafood collected within the vicinity of the pits does not pose an unacceptable public health risk to any of the sub-populations of concern.  In order to verify the predictions of the EIA a programme of monitoring the concentration of contaminants of concern in seafood is recommended.  The data from such a programme would also be of value to determining the risks to the Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin.

Consequently, a risk assessment should be performed at least on an annual basis to verify that no unacceptable risk are occurring to either human health or marine mammals as a result of consuming prey species from the waters in the vicinity of the pits of North Lantau.

The full details of the EM&A programme for assessing hazard to the health of humans and marine mammals are presented in the EM&A Manual.


3.8    Noise


As no adverse noise impact is expected, noise EM&A is not considered necessary.


3.9    Cultural Heritage


As no cultural heritage impact is expected, EM&A for cultural heritage is not considered necessary.