Environmental monitoring ensures the management of natural resources contributing to sustainable development through processes and activities which characterise and monitor the quality of the environment. This typically includes the monitoring of the chemical and microbiological quality of surface and groundwater to comply with Water Use Licenses, monitoring in support of environmental impact assessments and other scenarios where human activities carry a risk of harmful effects on the natural environment. AGES specialises in different aspects of environmental monitoring and render the following services:
- AGES provides water quality monitoring as well as the interpretation of the generated data in a report format that includes the level of compliance with the relevant legislation. Relevant data is interpreted to identify trends and possible pollution sources. All data is saved in an electronic database for future reference.
- Biological monitoring utilises aquatic communities in freshwater systems (like rivers and wetlands) to assess the health of such systems. Biological monitoring is also required by many water licenses, but can be used to assess specific impacts or the general health of aquatic ecosystems.
The following indices are used for biomonitoring evaluations:
- SASS 5 (South African Scoring System – invertebrates)
- FAII (Fish Assemblage Integrity Index)
- Diatom Based Indices
- FHI (Fish Health Index)
- IHAS (Integrated Habitat Assessment)
- Air quality monitoring, including the monitoring of dust fallout for developments, dust generated by tailings dams and the like. Particulate matter and particulate matter less than 10 micrometers (PM10) are of possible concern in some operations. This matter can be emitted from stockpiling and handling raw materials, as well as from all dry mechanical processes such as the preparation of raw materials, milling and screening and flash drying. The objective of the monitoring is to assess whether the levels of particulate matter complied with the stipulated guideline values. Dust deposition rates for each monitoring station are compared against the guidelines proposed by the Department of Environmental Affairs.