Discharge Monitoring & Impact Assessments

The Coastal and Freshwater Department offers monitoring surveys and environmental impact assessments for coastal zones, lakes and rivers. The Department performs environmental monitoring and assessments of disposal sites, sewage outlets, and harbour areas within both small and large municipalities.

We also specialise in pollution surveys in sediments, organisms and contaminated soil and assessments of the impacts of from mining, road construction and excavation activities. All activities are performed in accordance with the regulatory guidelines set forth in national guidelines and the European Union Water Framework Directive.

Sewage and Industrial Discharges

Akvaplan-niva provides monitoring and assessment programs designed to document the effects of municipal sewage and industrial discharges on recipient waters in coastal and freshwater environments. We routinely perform surveys of discharges of sewage, runoff from refuse dumps, tunnel drains and more. These monitoring programs may include analysis of hard and soft bottom organisms, heavy metals and organic compounds in sediment and biota, bacterial levels and changes in the intertidal floral and faunal communities. Survey results are used to identify impacts to the environment which are further used as a basis to assist clients in evaluating alternative locations for drainage outlets and purification measures.

Mining Discharges

In Norway, there is currently an increased focus on exploration of mineral resources. Exploitation of such resources is environmentally challenging due to the discharge of mining byproducts such as tailings. Akvaplan-niva performs baseline surveys in both marine and freshwater systems, impact assessment studies and monitoring related to mining activities in Northern Norway, Spitsbergen and internationally.

Harbour Activites

Akvaplan-niva carries out baseline surveys, monitoring and assessments to document the general environmental status of harbour areas. These areas often contain high levels of pollutants and pathogens originating from harbour activities, leaching from refuse disposal sites and sewage discharges and result in impacts to aquatic habitats and biological resources. Survey and monitoring results are used to plan cleanup actions, provide advice on safe consumption levels for locally caught seafood, and supply background information for municipal sewage planning.

Freshwater Systems

We conduct monitoring and assessment programs in all types of freshwater systems from wetland areas, to lakes and rivers. Akvaplan-niva have experts working with all parts of the food web; phytoplankton, benthic invertebrates, zooplankton and fish. We use protocols and classification systems for sediment quality, water quality, and ecological health status, in accordance with European Union and national standards. We have extensive experience conducting pollution assessments and fishery biological investigations. 20 years of experience studying contaminants in the Arctic lakes. Akvaplan-niva has several researchers that are experts for Arctic and Assessment Program (AMAP).

Akvaplan-niva in Action

Akvaplan-niva performs assessments of the potential environmental impacts to the coastal zone surrounding the Melkøya natural gas facility (Finmark, Norway). <span>Image by Guttorm Christensen</span>
Monitoring the coastal zone in the vicinity of Statoil's natural gas facility on Melkøya. <span>Image by Nina Mari Jørgensen</span>
A sediment core is retrieved near the island of Melkøya. Slices of the sediment core were analyzed to determine past to present-day supplies of contaminants at the site. <span>Image by Geir Dahl-Hansen</span>
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For More Information

Guttorm Christensen
gnc@akvaplan.niva.no
Tromsø, Norway

Related Reading

Consequences for the marine environment in Repparfjord of mining disposal sites in Kvalsund municipality, Finnmark.

Christensen et al. (2011)

Akvaplan-niva report 5249-01

Impact assessment for the establishment of an ore processing plant and tailings deposition site in Svea.

Christensen, G.N., A. Evenset, T. Simensen, M. Larsen & S. Lystrup Thesen. (2011)

SNSG report 4847-101


The Department assists city and regional authorities of Tromsø, Narvik, Harstad, and Alta (Northern Norway) on the European Union Water Framework Directive.

The Department assists with all phases of the clean-up of contaminated harbour sediments. Recent harbour projects have been completed for the Northern Norwegian cities of Tromsø, Harstad, and Hammerfest.

The Department is currently assisting several mining companies with operations in Northern Norway, e.g. NUSSIR, Store Norske, North Cape Mining, and Sydvaranger with handling discharges.