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Title: Environment impact assessment for the proposed provision of sewerage network at Gemanafushi, Gaafu Alifu Atoll
Authors: CDE Consulting
Keywords: Project description
Policy and legal framework
Existing environment
Impacts identification
Significant impacts and mitigation measures
Environmental management plan
Environmental monitoring plan
Stakeholder consultations
Issue Date: Nov-2017
Citation: CDE Consulting. (2017). Environment impact assessment for the proposed provision of sewerage network at Gemanafushi, Gaafu Alifu Atoll. Male': Maldives
Abstract: This document is submitted by the proponent to Environmental Protection Agency to fulfil the requirements for an EIA under Environmental Protection and Preservation Act. The EIA Regulations 2012 has been used as the basis for preparing this document. The proponent of this project is Ministry of Environment and Energy, the sewerage network was designed by Malé Water and Sewerage Company, and EIA was undertaken by consultants from CDE Consulting. At present, sewage disposal for most households is by collection in septic tanks, which are laborious to maintain, and susceptible to leakage if poorly maintained. The main rationale for replacing the existing sewage disposal system with a conventional sewerage network is to improve the sanitation facilities and health of the island community. The proposed project covers five main components: installation of the sewerage network, collection pump stations, sewerage outfall, house connections, and construction of an Administrative Building. The project is estimated to take about 36 to 40 months to complete. All project designs are in conformance to the laws and regulations of the Maldives, and relevant international conventions that Maldives is party to. The key laws and regulations applicable to this project are: Environmental Protection and Preservation Act, Decentralization Act, Environmental Impact Assessment Regulation 2012, Waste Management Regulation, Regulation on Dredging and Reclamation, Regulation on Cutting Down and Uprooting Trees and Dewatering Regulation. Decision Statement for this EIA report, Dewatering permit, and Domestic Wastewater Disposal Consent should be obtained from the EPA prior to commencement of the project. Gemanafushi Island is situated on a large reef system that forms part of the eastern rim of Gaafu Alif atoll. The island measures roughly 55 ha; census conducted in 2014 reports a population of 1223 people. The island is surrounded by a rich dynamic reef system, the shallow lagoon around the island forms a thick seagrass bed, and terminates to a healthy reef slope on the ocean side which is frequented by a variety of shark species, and diverse range of fish species. The north eastern corner of the reef system is listed an Environmentally Sensitive Area by the EPA, for this reason. Most of the negative impacts from this project are typical impacts associated with sewerage network and building construction in Maldives. The most significant impact from this project during the construction phase would be potential contamination of islands groundwater lens, marine water, and disturbance and loss of marine flora and fauna. The project is expected to have positive impact on overall quality of islands groundwater, health of the island community, and sanitation system of the island. Of particular concern is the proximity of the proposed sewage disposal site to Maahera located on the north eastern corner of the Gemanafushi reef. This dive site is popular with tourists due to sightings of Hammerhead sharks and numerous other marine species. Environment Protection Agency (EPA) has designated this site as an Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA). Alternative options for disposal sites were evaluated in this EIA. The key mitigation measures proposed during the construction stage focuses on reducing the most significant environmental impacts. These include measures to prevent accidental spillage, and spill clean-ups, discharge of any groundwater extracted back to the islands aquifer. Relocation of vegetation, and live corals within the footprint of sewage outfall pipeline. Alternative options were evaluated for the activities that are identified to have significant impact on the environment. The main concern identified as stated earlier is the proximity of the proposed sewage disposal point to Maahera ESA. Two alternative locations were evaluated, in addition no project option was also compared against the proposed sewerage network. Stakeholder consultations were held with Gemanafushi Island Council, FENAKA (local branch), and Ampus (local cable service provider). The key concern by Gemanafushi council was whether two pump stations would be sufficient, especially as they plan to develop a tourism zone on the southern end of the island. FENAKA stated based on their experience at GA Villingili, two pump stations may not be sufficient to handle sewage, once tourism zone is developed. Ampus requested to setup a grievance mechanism in case any damages to the islands existing cable lines. The following actions needs to be carried out by the proponent prior to the implementation of the project; proponent to present details of the proposed sewerage system to the island council, and FENAKA, and setup a grievance mechanism prior to initiation of the project. Monitoring plan is designed to assess any changes to the physical environment during construction and operation phase of the project. Estimated environmental monitoring cost of preconstruction stage (if required) is about MVR 112,000. Estimated monthly environmental monitoring cost for construction phase is approximately MVR 90,000. Estimated annual environmental monitoring cost during operation phase is about MVR 125,000. The management plan for this project is designed to produce a framework for anticipated impacts, including practicable and achievable performance requirements and systems for monitoring, reporting and implementing corrective actions. In addition provide evidence of compliance to legislation, policies, guidelines and requirements of relevant authorities. The main conclusion of this report is to move forward with the proposed development with the suggested mitigation measures, and alternatives.
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