SOIL & GROUNDWATER IMPACTS
6.4.1 The Project will not result in any noteworthy impacts on soil or groundwater during the operation of the plant. Additional possible impacts could rise from unintentional spills and incorrect storage of raw materials, fuels and wastes. On the basis of the observed chances of the soil and groundwater pollution the importance of this impact is determined to be insignificant.
6.4.2 Rainfalls are usually low in Qatar; still, infrequent storms can produce in a single event huge capacities of water. On the basis of the above the significance of this impact is determined to be negligible. Other potential impacts arising as a result of large scale accidents have been addressed in the environmental risk assessment Section of this Chapter (Section 6.10).
Construction and Commissioning
Main Site, Port Area and Construction Workers Camp
6.4.3 As stated previously, the Contractor(s) be required to comply with all Qatari regulations and Qatalum requirements with regard to the environment, which will address the measures in place to minimize of any emissions or wastes accidental or otherwise associated with activities that could potentially result in soil or groundwater contamination (e.g. from materials and waste handling and storage, testing etc.). Contractor(s) will also be required to obtain any necessary permits or approvals to dispose of any wastes.
Area for Dewatering and Storage of Dredged Material
Original Port Concept
6.4.4 The 2005 Qatalum Marine Survey included sediment sampling in the Original Port concept dredge area; this did not identify any potential contamination of the sediment. Thus, the potential impacts to soil and groundwater resulting from processes associated with the deposition, dewatering, storage and use of dredge of material (as fill) are unlikely to be a cause for concern. However, it is recommended that dredged material be sampled, prior to use as fill, to ensure that this is the case.
Alternative Port Concept
6.4.5 Previous surveys33, 34 have indicated that the sediments in the region of the possible dredge area could be contaminated with TPH and certain metals. A pre-dredge survey will be undertaken as part of the dredging management plan to confirm whether contamination is present in the dredge areas and to determine the location of any hotspots (see Section 6.5 for further details). If generally high levels of contamination are found, mitigation measures to eliminate or minimize the negative effects associated with the storage and dewatering of the sediments will be discussed and agreed with MIC and SCENR.
6.5 MARINE ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
6.5.1 The main construction impacts will be due, directly and indirectly, to the presence and construction of the Qatalum Port and dredging activities. So far as is possible, the remainder of this Section assesses the significance of the potential impacts associated with the two possible Port locations and addressees the following:
? permanent habitat loss / physical disturbance associated with the construction and presence of the Qatalum Berth / Jetty;
? permanent habitat loss / physical disturbance associated with the construction of the Original Port concept Service Corridor;
? sediment re-suspension and deposition during dredging and dewatering, leading
– increased turbidity, resulting in inhibition of primary production of flora,
– smothering of sub-tidal marine habitats / communities via sediment deposition xviii; and
After submission of revision 01 of the EIA report, the Alternative Port concept was chosen. On the other hand the text, relating to both Port concepts, within this updated (revision 02) EIA report has been retained, unchanged.
The marine impact assessment does not include computer modelling of the potential suspended solids plume that will be produced as a result of dredging. However, a qualitative assessment will be made using existing
– release of sediment-bound contaminants to the water column;
? Impacts of dredging on fish;
? Disturbance to marine species from increased underwater noise activities; and
? Accidental release of hazardous materials to the marine environment, resulting in degradation of seawater and sediment quality.
It is understood that there will be no direct disposal of any dredged material into the marine environment.
Permanent Habitat Loss / Physical Disturbance
6.5.2 The development of the new Port, at either location, will require dredging to depths between -13 m and -15 m CD, in order to construct the necessary access and turning basins for incoming ships. This assessment has been carried out on the basis of the Qatalum preferred common solution (as shown in Figure 3.2). For the purpose of the EIA report, the following three dredging scenarios have been considered for the Alternative Port concept:
? Scenario 1 – minimum dredging for the construction of the alternative Jetty; site fill material mainly sources from onshore materials;
? Scenario 2 – dredging to take place only areas that have been dredged previously, fill material to be supplemented with onshore sourced materials (this would mainly involve dredging in areas A and B on Figure 3.8.
? Scenario 3 – dredging to provide the sole source of fill material; this would involve dredging areas A, B, C and F on Figure 3.8.
6.5.3 A summary of the estimated dredge areas and volumes for the Alternative Port dredging scenarios 1-3 are provided in Table 6.4, below.
Table 6.4 – Alternative Port Dredging Scenarios
Scenario 1 Scenario 2 Scenario 3
Description Jetty, As scenario 1, plus:
Areas A and B As scenario 2, plus:
Areas C and F
Total Dredged Area (km2) ~0.3 up to 0.9 up to 1.8
Total Dredge Volume (m3) 1,000,000 3,000,000 ~ 6,000,000
6.5.4 It is anticipated that the main dredging operations would be carried out by cutter suction dredging. For the Original Port concept this would take place over a 6 month period; with a lesser amount of dredging in the 2 to 3 months following this. The duration of the dredging for the Alternative concept would depend on which option was carried forward. For the combined Qatalum Original Port / Gabbro expansion dredge area, approximately 72% of the 1.3 km2 dredge area will comprise areas of ‘Very Dense’ sea grass cover (as indicated in Figure 5.16). The overall extent of sea grass cover across the Qatari coast is not known, although other studies have recorded significant areas of sea grass beds present at Eastern Ras Laffan, Fuwariat (north of Ras Laffan) and Al-Khor/Al-Dhakhira. The area in the vicinity of the proposed Jetty, and the possible dredge areas A and B, will have already been disturbed as a result of previous dredging activities. A significant proportion of possible dredge areas A and C are adjacent to the existing northern approach navigation channel. In addition, the area immediately in front of planned MIC Berth No.7, which is adjacent to the Qatalum Jetty, will be further disturbed due to the construction of Berth No. 7. The desk-top study and video footage review for the Alternative Port location and possible dredge locations showed that these areas are largely barren with, at best, a patchy 1-10% of sea grass coverage (see Section 5.8 for further detail). Macro benthic fauna and flora were found to be present at lower species diversity and abundance compared with other areas around the Qatar coast. No specific mitigation is recommended, however, if dredging scenarios 2 and 3 are taken forward a pre-dredging survey for marine ecology will be undertaken as part of a wider monitoring package (see below). For the Original port concept, a small area of sub-tidal habitat along the eastern edge of the lagoon would be ‘lost’ for use as an access corridor (indicated in Figure 3.3). The area lost is estimated at approximately 435 m2. The loss will be certain and permanent, although limited in its extent and area. However, this small area comprises between only 0 and 1% of sparse sea grass cover (see Figure 5.16), with low numbers and diversity of species observed.
Impacts Associated with Sediment Re-suspension and Deposition
6.5.5 During dredging, sediment, which will include a percentage of finer sediments, is brought back into suspension from which it will re-enter the water column and then disperse with the direction of the current. Sediment plumes may be generated where fines are re suspended in the water column due the following activities:
? Seabed disturbance during dredging;
? Material (sediment) loss during dredging and subsequent transport;
? Re-suspension of losses during pumping and placement of fill; and
? Discharge of de-watering effluent during dredging.
6.5.6 The waters off the MIC coast are generally clear and an increase in turbidity could result in inhibition of primary production of marine flora (e.g. sea grass beds). Increased turbidity causes a reduction in the light available for photosynthesis and in the time available for net photosynthesis, therefore, reducing growth. The percentage cover of sea grass recorded during the 2004 QASCO marine survey37 indicated that the 2002 dredging of main navigation channel had not resulted in a significant impact on sea grass from approximately 100 m eastwards of the navigation channel. In addition, other surveys, carried out since dredging of the main channel occurred in 2002, would suggest that healthy sea grass beds remain in the vicinity of dredging activities. Epifauna and infauna are unlikely to be notably affected by changes in turbidity. Hydrodynamic data, along with the fact that sediments at both Port concept locations contain a large amount of fine material, would suggest that re-suspended sediments will remain in suspension for some time and not be dispersed quickly away from dredging areas. This can cause prolonged periods of high turbidity in proximity to dredging areas. For the Alternative Port location, the impact on sea grass beds in the MIC area, associated with increases in turbidity, is considered to be of minor significance for dredge scenarios 1 and 2 and of minor to moderate significance for scenario 3.
Smothering of Marine Organisms
6.5.7 Depending on the strength of currents at the time of construction, sediments could be mobilized, transported and be deposited elsewhere. Such deposition could lead to the smothering of organisms where sediment settles. Smothering could adversely affect sea grass beds and the feeding and respiratory functions of epifauna, especially of filter feeding organisms, such as corals, molluscs, gorgonians, etc. Sea grass and filter feeding organisms are generally intolerant to smothering. In addition, the redistribution of fine sediments may lead to changes to the make-up of infauna communities in areas affected. Epifaunal and infaunal communities are not considered to be of great ecological value in the proximity to works at either Port locations, or in the dewatering discharge area, and therefore the impact on these species is not considered significant. The significance of the impacts associated with the Alternative Port concept is anticipated to be of minor significance for dredge scenarios 1 and 2, and minor to moderate significance for dredge scenario 3.
Release of Sediment-Bound Contaminants to Water Column during Dredging and Reclamation
6.5.8 Re-suspension of sediment can re-introduce contaminants into the water column in both sediment-bound and dissolved forms. As discussed in Section 5.4, contaminant levels at the Original Port site are low; thus, the release of sediment into the water column during dredging is expected to have no significant adverse effect on water or sediment quality with respect to contaminant levels. Previous surveys33, 34 have indicated that the sediment in the region of the possible dredge areas for the Alternative Port concept could be contaminated with TPH and certain metals. The dispersal and subsequent settlement of sediments could have impacts upon water quality and consequently on marine ecology, through filter feedings, accumulation in flora, ingestion by herbivores and bioaccumulation up the food chain. The potential significance is likely to increases with the scale of dredging, i.e. for scenarios 2 and 3. However, the removal of dredged sediment from the marine environment, for storage and dewatering onshore, will reduce most impacts. In addition, mitigation adopted to reduce the effects of increased turbidity will help to minimize potential effects.
Mitigation and Control to Prevent Sediment Re-suspension and Deposition
6.5.9 Dredging operation and management shall be undertaken in accordance with the principles of BAT and best international practices. Typical measures that would be considered in the EMP include:
• Ensure that production rates do not exceed pumping capacity to avoid the overflow and release of excess material;
• Ensure there is no leakage from the sediment transport pipeline from the dredger to the dewatering / reclamation areas; and
• Use of silt traps, such as weirs, and / or settlement areas to reduce the amount of suspended sediment in the de-watering effluent released to sea.
Prior to dredging, sediment transport modelling should be carried out, for both Port concepts, to determine the potential direction and dispersion of re-suspended sediments.
Sediment and Seawater Quality
6.5.10 No pre-dredge monitoring of sediment or seawater quality is recommended for the Original Port concept. During dredging suspended solids should be monitored at representative locations, agreed with SCENR. No post dredging monitoring of sediment or seawater quality is recommended.
Analysis should be conducted for the following sediment parameters:
? Total Organic Carbon (TOC);
? Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons (TPH);
? Metals (Be, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Hg, Li, Mn, Ni, Pb, V, and Zn);
? PH; and
? Nutrients (total nitrogen and phosphorus).
Seawater samples should be taken from both from surface waters and from waters 0.5 m above the seabed and analyzed for the following:
? Total Suspended Solids (TSS);
? Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons (TPH);
? Metals (Be, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Hg, Li, Mn, Ni, Pb, V, and Zn);
? Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCB);
? PH; and
? Nutrients (total nitrogen and phosphorus).
6.5.11 Post dredging biological surveys for both epibenthic organisms (e.g. sea grass communities, gorgonians etc.) and soft sediment infauna should be undertaken at a number of sites to determine the effects of dredging activities for either Port concepts. The focus of the surveys is anticipated to be the health of sea grass beds. For the Alternative Port concept detailed biological pre-dredging monitoring will only be required if dredging scenarios 2 and 3 are selected. A video survey, undertaken along the footprint of the new Jetty and the immediately adjacent area, will suffice if scenario 1 is taken forward. No biological pre-dredging monitoring is required for the Original Port location.
Impacts on Fish
6.5.12 Dredging activities can affect fish directly through increased mortality, whereby fish may be entrained by dredge machinery, through and loss of habitat. Indirectly impacts can also arise due to increased suspended solid loads and/or decreased dissolved oxygen concentrations in the water column. Increased suspended sediment levels can cause physical damage to fish through gill damage and can reduce the ability of fish to locate prey items. However, fish are mobile and can move away from affected areas; in addition, none of the surveys in the vicinity of either Port locations identified significant fish populations or species diversity; thus this impact has been assigned a minor significance.
6.5.13 Underwater noise can affect the natural behavior of adult fish; however the Qatalum and
SARC marine surveys have indicated that there is minimal fish interest in proximity to both Port locations and the associated dredging areas. The noise level from dredging activities is therefore highly unlikely to have to have a notable impact on fish and this has been assigned a significance rating of negligible.
Release of Hazardous Materials to Environment
6.5.14 The potential exists for the degradation of seawater and sediment quality to occur as a result of accidental spills, leaks or releases of hazardous materials during construction, and commissioning. Such releases could include those of fuels, lubricants, paints and cleaning products (e.g. solvents). In the absence of any mitigation release of such materials to the marine environment would constitute a potential impact of moderate significance but would be dependent on:
? Physical / chemical properties of the material released;
? The volume of material released; and
? Duration of spillage/discharge event.
Environmental and waste management are discussed further in Chapter 8. Potential impacts arising as a result of emergency events / large scale accidents have been addressed in the environmental risk assessment Section of this Chapter (Section 6.10).
Main Operational Impacts
6.5.15 Potential impacts arising through the operational phase of the Qatalum Project include the following:
• Impacts associated with the seawater scrubber effluent discharge (i.e. increased temperature, low pH and increased COD);
• Entrainment of marine organisms/fish/mammals within the seawater intake; and
• Impacts associated with vessels using the Qatalum Port.
The main environmental issues are those relating to the discharge, in particular, the temperature increase relative to ambient seawater temperatures, low pH and high COD levels. The discharge will be continuous throughout the project lifetime.
Discharge of Scrubber Effluent
6.5.16 The bleed from the Power Plant cooling towers and used seawater from Aluminum Plant cooling systems will be used in the seawater scrubbers at the Reduction Plant, thus the only seawater discharge from the Project will be the final effluent from the scrubbers (estimated at a maximum of 16,000 m3/hr). The discharge will be released into the existing QASCO channel at the point indicated in Figure 3.4. Previous surveys37 have identified that there are no sensitive marine habitats, flora of fauna within 500 m of the discharge point. The main potential impact associated with the seawater discharge is the temperature increase relative to that of intake water. Engineering studies have determined that for the hottest months (June to October), where increases in sea temperature are will have the most significant impact on the marine environment, the Qatalum discharge will have a ?T of less than 4 ºC at the point it enters the QASCO channel. Table 6.5 below shows the average monthly seawater intake temperatures compared to the calculated temperature of the discharge at the point it enters the QASCO channel, and the resultant ?T. These are also shown graphically in Figure 6.14 and Figure 6.15.
Table 6.5 – Seawater and Discharge Temperatures
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Seawater Temp. (ºC) 21.0 21.0 24.0 26.3 30.0 33.0 34.3 36.0 35.0 33.0 28.1 24.0
Discharge Temp. (ºC) 28.5 28.7 31.3 33.1 35.7 36.6 37.8 38.9 38.4 36.7 33.6 32.2
Delta T (ºC) 7.5 7.7 7.3 6.8 5.7 3.6 3.5 2.9 3.4 3.7 5.5 8.2
Figure 6.14 – Seawater Intake & Discharge Temperature (at Entry to QASCO Channel)
Figure 6.15 – Delta T of Seawater Discharge at Point of Entry to QASCO Channel
6.5.17 Table 6.5 shows that the highest ?T is 8.2 ºC at the point of entry to the QASCO channel, which has been calculated to occur in December. In order to determine whether this “worst case” scenario would still enable compliance with the SCENR standard, Qatalum commissioned D’Appolonia to undertake analysis of the thermal dispersion of the combined Qatalum and QASCO cooling waters. The full report for this Study is presented in Appendix L and summarized below. Within the EIA study D’Appolonia carried out an analysis on the thermal dispersion of the planned wastewater discharged by the expanded QASCO facility using CORMIX-GI v4.3GT. The modelling was carried out assuming a worst case (6.6 ºC ?T) temperature for the combined Qatalum / QASCO discharge. The results of the analysis showed that, for the combined Qatalum / QASCO discharge, the 3 ºC ?T criteria would be met within 50 m from the outfall and that at 100 m from the outfall the ?T would be in the region of 2.2 to 2.3 ºC. On the basis of the above, and the lack of sensitive receptors within 500 m of the channel discharge point, the significance of the impact of heat loading to the marine environment, and subsequently flora and fauna, is assessed as negligible to minor. Other issues / impacts associated with the discharge are pH, COD and biocide concentrations. The acidic scrubber effluent will be neutralized and the pH carefully controlled (as described in Section 3.12) and monitored. Under typical operating conditions, the discharge will have pH of >6 at the point at which it enters the sea, which is in line with the Qatari standards. Further neutralization will occur rapidly through natural dispersion once the discharge enters the sea. A conservative estimate, on the basis of the thermal modelling results, is that an increase, to approximately pH 6.8, will occur within 100 m of the outfall. On the basis of this, the localized extent of the potential impact and the limited sensitivity of the immediate receiving environment, impacts on water quality and marine ecology are assessed as negligible. The final stage of the scrubber effluent neutralization process requires the use of the existing discharge in the QASCO channel. In the abnormal event that the QASCO discharge stops, or is reduced, (e.g. during plant shutdown / maintenance) there is the potential for acidic (~pH 4) water to enter the sea at the discharge point. This scenario was identified in the Environmental Risk Assessment and is addressed in Section 6.10 and in more detail in Appendix J. Elevated COD levels result in reduced levels of dissolved oxygen (DO), which is a fundamental requirement for the maintenance of balanced indigenous populations of fish, shellfish, and other aquatic biota. COD will be reduced by the installation of an aeration system (air injection nozzles) along the bottom of the QASCO channel, downstream of the point at which the Qatalum discharge enters the QASCO channel. The objective of this will be to meet the required SCENR dissolved oxygen (DO) level of 2 mg/l. As noted above, previous surveys37 have identified that there are no sensitive marine habitats, flora of fauna within 500 m of the discharge point. On this basis the impact associated with elevated COD levels / reduced DO levels is anticipated to be of negligible significance. Biocide treatment will be undertaken periodically through chlorination; any residual chlorine will be destroyed by the sulphite formed through the seawater scrubbing process. Thus, the Qatari standard for residual chlorine in seawater discharges should never be exceeded and the impact on the marine environment will be negligible. In addition, the entry of the Qatalum discharge to the QASCO channel should have a beneficial impact in that the sulphites present will also neutralize any residual chlorine in the QASCO discharge.
Vessels Using the Qatalum Port
6.5.18 Ships using the Mesaieed Ports will be under the control of the MIC Harbor Master. The main source of potential impacts to the marine environment directly associated with shipping are discharge of ballast water and leaks / spills from refueling; however, discharge of ballast water within the port area is prohibited and there will not be any refueling facilities at the Qatalum Port Area. In addition, the area around the Port will have been recently dredged and, as such, will be further devoid of sensitive marine habit and species. On the basis of this, the potential impact to the marine environment is considered to be negligible. Potential impacts arising as a result of emergency events / large scale accidents have been addressed in the environmental risk assessment Section of this Chapter (Section 6.10).
6.6 TERRESTRIAL ECOLOGY
6.6.1 This Section of the assessment describes and evaluates the construction and operational impacts on terrestrial ecology in terms of the flora and fauna known or expected to occur at or near the proposed Qatalum Site (as determined in Section 5.7).
The most significant impacts are likely to arise from:
• Emissions of hydrogen fluoride and sulphur dioxide during operation of the plant;
• The physical presence of the Aluminum Plant / associated facilities and construction workers camp, resulting in permanent habitat loss;
• temporary presence of an area for the deposition, storage and dewatering of dredged materials, resulting in habitat loss; and
• General construction activities (e.g. site preparation), leading to disturbance of the land surface, resulting in potential damage to habitats, flora and fauna.
Less significant potential impacts relate to
• Operational and construction noise generation, resulting in potential disturbance to fauna; and
• Operational and construction dust generation and deposition, resulting in potential smothering of flora and fauna.
Operational Impact Assessment – Effect of HF Emissions
6.6.2 Emissions of fluoride from the proposed facility may cause damage to plants in terms of tissue damage, or death, if exposure occurs above a certain level. Terrestrial plants may accumulate inorganic fluorides following airborne deposition and uptake from the soil50, 63. Exposure to a high concentration of fluoride causes necrosis (tissue death) of part, or even the whole, of the leaf. In most monocotyledonous (narrow-leaved species including grasses and lilies) plants, the initial symptom is the development of chlorosis (yellowing) at the tips and margins of elongating leaves (see Figure 6.16). In dicotyledonous (broad-leaved) species the initial symptom of fluoride effects on leaves is usually chlorosis of the tip, which later extends downward along the margins and inward toward the midrib. Continued exposure may lead to the tip becoming necrotic and falling off, leaving the leaf notched. The availability to plants tends to decrease with time following initial application of fluoride. The degree of accumulation depends on several factors, including soil type and, most prominently, pH. At acidic pH (below pH 5.5), fluoride becomes more phyto-available through complexion with soluble aluminum fluoride species (which are themselves taken up by plants, or, increase the potential for the fluoride ion to be taken up by the plant). The soils of Qatar are generally alkaline, due to the limestone geology of the area, thus limiting the availability of fluorides to plants in this area.
Figure 6.16 – Leaf Necrosis in the Lily
6.6.3 In general, plant species are particularly vulnerable to injury during the growing season when leaves are young, and during daylight hours when gas uptake rates are high. However, some plants, typically hardy and salt tolerant coastal species, grow on the made/disturbed ground and three “natural” plant communities were identified:
? The vegetation of coastal sands; consisting mostly of halophyte species;
? Reed bed vegetation, associated with the discharge of treated effluent from the adjacent MIC sewage treatment plant; almost entirely dominated by Phragmites australis; and
? Vegetation fringing the reed bed proper; consisting of grasses and chenopods.
A summary of the indigenous and ornamental/landscaping species identified, and their sensitivities to fluoride, is provided in Appendix E. The areas of vegetation in closest proximity to the Qatalum Site are illustrated in Figure 6.17.
Figure 6.17 – Areas of Vegetation in Proximity to the Qatalum Site
6.6.4 To assess the potential for damage to occur, the modelled ground level concentrations of hydrogen fluoride have been compared with air quality standards and guidelines. There are currently no regulatory standards for HF emissions in Qatar and none have been identified in other Middle East countries. The MIC Authority has proposed a draft guideline9 of 1 µg/m3, as a monthly average, albeit suggested for the protection of human health xix, rather than vegetation. The WHO recognizes that levels in ambient air should be less than 1 µg/m3, to prevent effects on livestock and plants63. This guideline applies to long-term exposure (assumed to be equivalent to a one year averaging period) xx. For other averaging periods, an illustrative sample of air quality standards from other countries, for the protection of vegetation, are presented in Table 6.6.
Qatalum have questioned the scientific basis of this draft guideline as a measure to protect human health; this has been discussed previously in Section 6.3.
Qatalum will submit a more comprehensive study on applicable international ambient HF criteria as a standalone document.
Table 6.6 – Vegetation Air Quality Guidelines for Gaseous Fluorides (µg/m3)
Country Averaging period
24 hours 7 days 30 days Annual
WHO – – – 1.0
Norway (non-statutory guideline) 1.0 – 0.4
Japan 1.0 0.5 – –
Texas, USA 2.9 1.7 1.0 –
Queensland, Australia 2.9 – 0.84
6.6.5 The standards / guidelines in Table 6.6 have been designed to protect specific / the most sensitive receptors, usually plant species, and are devised so that the highest concentrations are acceptable for only the shortest durations. It should also be noted that the plants and soil types in the Mesaieed area are likely to be quite different to those in the countries listed in Table 6.6; therefore, any assessment against these standards should be regarded with caution. There is a greater degree of uncertainty relating to guidelines / standards for short averaging periods (e.g. 7 day, 24 hour, 1 hour), particularly when they have been derived with country specific sensitive species in mind, thus, this assessment only considers the monthly and annual standards presented in Table 6.6 for comparison with the modelling results. The Figures presented in this Section showing the presents the maximum monthly mean concentrations of hydrogen fluoride; the contour lines show that the concentrations are above the non-statutory Norwegian guideline of 0.4 µg/m3 across the majority of the Industrial Area. Based on the non-statutory Norwegian guideline there may be some visible damage to reeds, which are more sensitive than the coastal vegetation, at concentrations above 0.4 µg/m3. The landscaping plants which are used in the Industrial Area alongside roads and offices are, on the whole, tolerant species and are therefore unlikely to be affected by the concentrations of between 0.4 and 2 µg/m3 which were modelled within the greater part of the Industrial Area. The trees planted along the road parallel to the south western site boundary may show some signs of necrosis with concentrations of up to 10 µg/m3 over a small localized area (less than 500 m). Although these trees are generally hardy, as implied by their existence in an industrial zone and their tolerance of an arid, salty environment; based on the modelled concentrations and the standards in Table 6.6, some impact (e.g. partial defoliation) cannot be ruled out.
Figure 6.18 – Maximum Monthly Average HF Concentrations, µg/m3
Figure 6.19 – Maximum Annual Average HF Concentrations, µg/m3
6.6.6 Figure 6.19 presents the annual mean concentrations of hydrogen fluoride. The contour lines show that the concentrations are below the WHO guideline of 1 µg/m3 across the majority of the modelled area. Therefore, based on the modelled annual concentrations, no damage is likely, even to the most sensitive plant species. There is a much localized area close to the pot rooms, within less than 600 m of the Main Site south western boundary, where modelled concentrations are between 2 and 7 µg/m3. The trees planted in this area, along a small section of the road parallel to the south western site boundary, may be susceptible to damage. The assessment indicates that the extent of the potential impact of fluoride emissions will be limited to the immediate local area, in particular, to roadside plantings directly adjacent to the site’s south western boundary within the MIC Industrial Area. On the basis of the above, and in the absence of mitigation / control measure, the impact of HF emissions on flora is anticipated to be minor; however, as a further precaution and in light of various uncertainties, the impact has been assigned as moderate.
Figure 6.20 – The Global Distribution of Soil Sensitivity to Acid Deposition
6.6.7 A contour plot of modelled annual mean concentrations of sulphur dioxide is presented in the Air Quality Assessment Section, in Figure 6.9. This figure illustrates the rapid decrease in concentrations with increasing distance from the source. The contour lines show that concentrations are below the WHO vegetation guideline of 20 µg/m3 across the majority of the modelled area, including most of the MIC Industrial Area. There is a limited area close to the south western Qatalum Site boundary where modelled concentrations approach the WHO vegetation guideline of 20 µg/m3. SO2 emissions will be continuous throughout the operational life of the Qatalum Project. On the basis of the above, the impact of SO2 emissions on flora is anticipated to be negligible to minor. The main source of SO2 emissions from the process has been reduced by 90% through the selection of a seawater scrubbing gas treatment system. As for the potential effects of HF, visual monitoring of vegetation will be undertaken to determine whether any damage is caused, no further mitigation techniques are considered necessary.
Operational Impact Assessment – Minor Impacts (Noise and Dust)
6.6.8 Noise has the potential to disturb fauna, particularly during breeding seasons. The noise assessment (see Section 6.7 below). In addition, Dust deposition, resulting for example from material handling activities, has the potential to smother flora. Dust generation during operation of the plant has been minimized through, emissions control and will be further controlled through the environmental management system. Due to other construction activities and the widespread and heavily disturbed desert surface in this region of Qatar; thus this impact is considered to be of negligible significance.
Operational Impact Assessment – Non-Typical Operation
6.6.9 Activities related to process upset conditions have not been specifically addressed but are not considered likely to result in any impacts that are of a significantly greater magnitude than those experienced during typical plant operation.
Construction Impact Assessment – Impacts on Habitats, Fauna and Flora
6.6.10 The construction of the plant will result in the permanent loss of terrestrial habitat as a result of the presence of the Aluminum Plant and associated facilities. reed beds; man-made inland water bodies such as these have been identified as being of potential local importance for wildlife such as invertebrates and birds .The impact on the habitat and vegetation in the remaining Project Areas is considered to be of negligible significance, on the basis that this consists of mostly of sparse vegetation, with low species diversity, and which is similar to many other areas within Mesaieed and Qatar.
Reed bed Habitat Loss Mitigation and Residual Impact
6.6.11 Assuming that an appropriate and equivalent method of compensation can be agreed, and implemented successfully, it is anticipated that the residual impact on the reed bed (habitat loss) would be reduced to minor, or even negligible. The loss of habitat through land-take can also impact on non-avian terrestrial fauna. No mammals were observed during the Ecological Survey or site walkovers, but MIC supports at least three native mammal species, most of which are likely to be widespread and locally common in Qatar. Since the quality of habitat affected is considered to be generally poor, the impact is considered to be of negligible to minor significance.