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Title: Environmental impact assessment for the proposed development of sewerage system at Eydhafushi, Baa Atoll, Maldives
Authors: Oriental Consultants
Yachiyo Engineering
Keywords: Rehabilitation project
Sewerage systems
Legislative and regulatory considerations
Meteorological conditions
Coastal environment
Marine environment
Terrestrial environment
Socio-economic environment
Constructional impacts
Operational impacts
Mitigation measures
Environmental impact assessments
Issue Date: Aug-2008
Citation: Oriental Consultants & Yachiyo Engineering. (2008). Environmental impact assessment for the proposed development of sewerage system at Eydhafushi, Baa Atoll, Maldives. Male': Maldives
Abstract: This report discusses the findings of a social and environmental impact study undertaken by Oriental Consultants and Yachiyo Engineering of Japan at the request of the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Water. Although this is a rehabilitation project, the sewerage system in Eydhafushi is beyond rehabilitation and needs a complete makeover. Therefore, in accordance with the requirements of the EIA Regulation, an EIA is proposed to be done for the proposed project. The project involves the decommissioning of the existing system and development of a new sewerage system in Eydhafushi. This project is initiated by the government of Maldives with funding from Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) as part of the tsunami rehabilitation programme. The existing sewerage system of Eydhafushi was built by the people on a need basis by different individuals connecting their septic tank systems to gravity flow sewer pipes disposing to the lagoon. The system is not so functionable and has some environmental problems, which need to be addressed. The system is similar to the “Small Bore Sewerage System”, which is basically a gravity flow system which the government in collaboration with UNICEF established in some of the most populous island such as Kandholhudhoo and Hinnavaru. The environment of Eydhafushi may be described as well managed, with few environmental problems with appropriate solid waste management, well maintained private sewer lines with nearshore outfalls, clear lagoon which is seeing increasing signs of pollution from nearshore disposal of sewage using multiple outfalls spread around the island, good housing with apropriate ventilation, sound level of urban planning, presence of beach and recreational areas and groundwater less contaminated compared to several islands of similar size and population density. Stakeholder consultations were held with various groups, including the community and the client in order to incorporate the socio‐economic components in the project. It was observed that the community of Eydhafushi is less dependent upon the government than many other islands, which are dependent for reasons of bureaucratic system of government people have been used to. Environmental impacts were assessed for both the construction and operation phase of the project. Most of the environmental impacts of the project have been identified as positive resulting mainly from improvements to groundwater and lagoon water quality and resulting reduction in water‐borne and water‐related diseases and general ill‐health. The main negative impact of the project would be that of excessive drawdown on the aquifer resulting from the improved sewerage system. There are other minor negative impacts such as small amount of excavation to lay the outfall pipe and dewatering to lay the sewer network in some areas including dewatering for the construction of manholes, lift stations and sumpwell at the STP and outfall. These impacts are considered to be moderate but short‐term. The socio‐economic benefits of the project may be considered to outweigh the negative impacts of the project. Mitigation measures for anticipated negative impacts have been identified and outlined in detail, including minimizing dewatering, laying the sewers properly including the outfall, locating the outfall at adequate depth, including secondary treatment before discharging final effluent to sea, removal of existing sewers and outfalls and improvements to lagoon and coastal conditions in order to attain the benefits of the project. The main mitigation measure would be water conservation and measures to minimize drawdown on the aquifer. This is considered necessary whatever the sewerage system, if it uses groundwater for flushing. The proposed design for Eydhafushi sewerage system has been prepared after considering all impacts, discussions with community and consideration of mitigation measures. It is inevitable that there would be some negative environmental impacts. However, these are minor compared to the positive effects of the proposed system. Yet, monitoring to ensure the effectiveness of the proposed system would be necessary. Therefore, a monitoring component has been suggested which takes in to consideration, the most important elements that require regular checks. This monitoring component will be adhered to and will allow the assessment of changes due to construction and implementation of the proposed sewerage system. Monitoring is specifically focussed on ground and surface water quality changes. Reef monitoring is considered inappropriate given the scale of anthropogenic damage to the reefs of Eydhafushi. In conclusion, it appears justified from a technical and environmental point of view, to carry out the proposed project to improve sanitation in Eydhafushi.
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