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Title: Environmental impact assessment for the construction and setup of an island sewerage system in Mulah Island, Meemu Atoll, Maldives
Authors: Water Solutions
Keywords: Sewerage systems
Legislative and regulatory considerations
Existing environmental conditions
Existing marine environment
Existing terrestrial environment
Existing socio-economic environment
Environmental impacts
Mitigation measures
Environmental management and monitoring plan
Environmental impact assessments
Issue Date: Nov-2016
Citation: Water solutions. (2016). Environmental impact assessment for the construction and setup of an island sewerage system in Mulah Island, Meemu Atoll, Maldives. Male': Maldives
Abstract: This report discusses the findings of an environmental impact study undertaken by Water Solutions Pvt. Ltd in order to fulfill obligatory requirements of the National Environment Protection and Preservation Act, Law No. 4/93 for the proposed setup of the sewerage system (hereafter referred to as the project) in Mulah island, Meemu Atoll, Maldives. The purpose of this EIA is to identify and minimize potential adverse environmental impacts related to this project and enhance the overall quality of the project. By examining the project location, the legal framework and the existing environmental components such as marine ecology and the socio-economic aspects, this EIA provides useful information regarding the extent, nature and the magnitude of impacts that are likely to occur. The EIA will also help to identify the long term socio-economic benefits to the community after implementing this project. It also provides a framework for future monitoring of the environment, so that changes can be monitored and corrective measures can be undertaken. The proposed project aims to establish an island wide sewerage collection and disposal system. At present household wastewater is disposed on site by the use of septic tanks and this has contributed to the contamination of the groundwater to a state that it cannot be utilized for any portable use. The project therefore involves the following components: a) Installation of an island wide sewage collection network. b) Installation of new catch pits for each house / institution. c) Construction of pump stations in strategic locations to collect and convey raw sewage from the households and to the final disposal station. d) Construction of a sea outfall to discharge the sewage into deep sea. The proposed project will ensure that the groundwater of the island does not get contaminated through improper sanitation systems. It will also ensure that the surrounding marine environment will improve in terms of environmental quality and will ensure pollution from sewage does not occur on the near shore environments resulting from potential private outfall connections in the future that may arise as a result of groundwater pollution from septic tanks. The project is expected to bring several positive impacts on the environmental quality of the island and the surrounding reef. Particularly, the most significant benefit would be achieved through improvement in the bacteriological quality of the groundwater. The health benefits of the project are also worthy of noting as the improvement in water quality are going to bring significant health benefits to the community. At present, the people of the island risk contracting sin and water borne diseases due to the potential contamination of groundwater that escalates to various levels throughout the year. Children are particularly at higher risk and continue to pose a threat to human development and well-being of the islanders. Environmental impacts and mitigation measures Several environmental impacts of this proposed project have been examined through a number of processes. These include consultations with the project development team, field surveys, observations and assessment, and field experience gained from similar development projects implemented throughout the country. Potential positive and negative impacts on the environment have been considered. The assessment indicates environmental impacts both during the construction and operation stage. During the construction period, impacts are likely to occur on the marine and terrestrial environment (groundwater) as the proposed project does necessitate construction of an outfall. Most of the impacts during the construction period are impacts related to construction waste, dust emission, damage to the reef during sea outfall construction and noise as well as disruption to the daily life of islanders due to construction activities. During the operational stage of this project, there will be both positive and negative impacts. Positive impacts include the improvement of the ground water quality of the island. Negative impacts include the increased in extraction of groundwater for toilet flushing. This project does foresee some negative impacts even during the construction stage but is geared towards improving the overall environmental quality of the island, most notably the environmental health. The project does not pose serious threats to the marine or terrestrial environment and will directly benefit the environment and the community, both in the short and long term. Minor negative impacts with varying significance will occur as the project is implemented such as dust emissions during pipe laying work and some reef damage during the process of outfall construction. The pump stations have also been placed around the various locations in the island, some requiring removal of trees while others does not foresee much tree removal. The project will benefit the community and the island in the long term. It is important to ensure that the project implementation is carried in a sustainable manner and in such the sewerage system can be maintained in a cost effective manner as and when required.
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