FLUID staff have successfully delivered hydrology, hydrogeology, geology and peat studies and technical advice for over 100 Environmental Impact Assessments on projects such as Windyfield Windfarm, Northern Ireland; Caplich Windfarm, Scotland and the Lynton Barnstaple Railway, England along with the provision of expert witness services for projects such as Llanbrynmair Windfarm, Wales.
Our approach to EIA is focused on providing sufficient pertinent information from the various assessments at an early stage to enable a robust constraints assessment that minimises subsequent adjustments of infrastructure layout due to these disciplines.
FLUID staff have also supported the delivery of EIA for large scale mining projects in South America including Antapaccay gold mine and Lagunas Norte gold mine, Peru; El Relincho copper mine, Chile and Cerrejon Coal mine, Colombia. Services have including hydrogeological conceptualisation of mine inflows, prediction of impacts from the development and closure of open pits, tailings impoundments and waste rock stockpiles along with required mitigation measures. Developing good relationships with community groups in the vicinity of these mines is critical to understanding the water environment including the evaluation and improvement of community water supplies.
Our capability in EIA includes studies such as hydrogeological and hydrological investigations, groundwater dependent terrestrial ecosystem assessments, carbon calculator development, peat slide risk assessments and spatial analysis of peat. We also provide associated documents such as the development and production of Construction Environmental Management Plans incorporating water monitoring programmes, peat management plans and watercourse crossing plans.
FLUID offer a range of services relating to peat including: mapping, characterisation and spatial analysis of peat occurrence; mapping of peat drainage with associated development of programmes for ditch blocking and the monitoring of the success of these programmes; peat slide hazard risk assessment, peat management plans including detailed estimation of peat extraction volumes, reuse and peatland restoration.
Our dedicated team of field technicians can provide low cost, rapid turnaround of data from a variety of sites including remote setting, difficult access and terrain and forestry. Using high end GPS equipment accurate locations and information can be reviewed and recorded, even in forested areas, allowing on site interpretation and comparison with other data e.g. ecological habitats. These features allow us to provide a high quality and cost effective service in accordance with current regulatory guidelines.
Targeted depth of penetration probing coupled with verification coring allows our team of field technicians to provide valuable early coverage of sites enabling infrastructure to be located away from areas of deep peat. Coring, sampling and logging allow the distribution and characteristics of the peat to be determined.
The acquired data is analysed by our GIS team to produce peat depth contour plots for the estimation of peat extraction associated with the project development. These volumes are used to develop peat management plans including appropriate reuse, peatland restoration and waste minimisation; as well as the carbon balance assessment.
Fluid Environmental Consulting develop peat slide risk assessment models by combining peat data with our interpretation of geomorphological, hydrological and topographical characteristics.
FLUID have undertaken numerous hydrogeological studies and assessments in the UK and overseas on developments such as open cast and underground mines, transport links, distilleries, windfarm developments and quarries. Interpretation has been undertaken through the development of conceptual hydrogeological models from:
- small scale excavations or installations and their interactions with the immediately adjacent water environment; to
- complex large scale conceptual models on large open pit mines for the development of numerical models to predict catchment wide impacts.
Collating and interpreting information obtained from geological mapping, water feature mapping, streamflow data and groundwater well test data enables the hydrogeological properties of the formations to be determined and an the understanding of the hydrogeological and hydrological environment to be developed.
The need to undertake these assessments and their complexity, or the extent of investigation required, is dependent on the design of the scheme and the proximity to any sensitive receptors. These include water dependent habitats, private and public water supplies, fisheries interests, designated sites, other water features or water bodies. An understanding of the likely groundwater flow direction, rate and attenuating capacity of the rock is necessary to determine where infrastructure can be located or where mitigation methods need to be employed.
Spring occurrence, for example, is related to changes in geological formations and the associated recharge zones and will influence habitat type and will potentially provide supplies for properties or livestock. They also help confirm geological boundaries and support conceptual models. Mapping of the various features is therefore critical to the correct interpretation of the way the water environment functions and therefore the identification and quantification of any potential impact that could occur through development.
Mine hydrogeological investigations have involved the planning, drilling supervision and testing of deep groundwater monitoring boreholes and pumping well networks to establish and test the hydrogeological regime. These investigations combined with hydrogeological mapping, geological mapping, spring and abstraction identification and baseflow monitoring allow complex large scale conceptual models to be developed as recharge rates, permeability values and flow barriers can be defined for different formations. These allow numerical models to be developed to enable prediction of required dewatering rates and potential impacts over time to aquifers, stream baseflow and springs.
Reduction of flows to private water supplies have involved the quantification of reduction of supply, assessment as alteration of water quality and development of water supply alternatives ranging from construction of reservoirs, installation of groundwater pumping wells, capture of spring supplies and temporary supply during construction periods.
FLUID offer a wide range of services relating to hydrology and water resources including: baseline studies, EIA, constraints planning, flood risk assessment, monitoring, watercourse crossing assessments, mapping of drainage networks and water features and production of drainage management plans.
An understanding of the hydrological regime and development of a conceptual source-pathway-receptor linkage model for a site allows the potential effects of an activity or development on the water environment to be assessed.
Drainage mapping and characterisation have been used to develop strategies for ditch blocking, flood management, run off attenuation and the control of diffuse pollution.
Our staff have developed drainage management plans including for peat restoration projects, construction sites, agricultural and forestry activities, mining and extraction projects and for the protection of water resources and the wider water environment.
FLUID staff have also assisted clients with the application of activities under the Controlled Activity Regulations such as abstractions, impoundments, watercourse crossings or engineering works in or alongside watercourses.
Through a developed understanding and due consideration of the hydrological regime, proposed schemes can be designed to minimise potential impacts and positive steps can be made to manage and improve the hydrological conditions.
FLUID staff are specialised in assessing Groundwater Dependent Terrestrial Ecosystems to determine the status and sensitivity of GWDTEs. Our experience of understanding hydrogeology, groundwater resources, surface waters, ecology and their interactions gives us the capability to appropriately assess GWDTEs in the context of a development and the wider environment. Through the production of constraints plans indicating where GWDTEs should avoided, protected and where appropriate mitigate will be required we are able to facilitate appropriate design of development in the vicinity of these habitats.
Assessments of groundwater dependent terrestrial ecosystems require an understanding not only of the value of the habitat but determination of the actual connection to the groundwater system. This requires a conceptual hydrogeological model to be developed through an understanding of the geological formations and groundwater flow paths. Definition by ecologists along with conceptualisation by hydrogeologists is critical for accurate assessment.
Fluid have a successful track record in assessing GWDTEs and addressing planning objections or conditions in relation to GWDTEs. We are proficient in developing appropriate monitoring schemes and mitigation strategies to satisfy regulatory requirements whilst being pragmatic for the development, and we have the capability to make recommendations for further enhancement opportunities where beneficial to a project and the wider environment.
- water quality and soil sampling;
- streamflow monitoring;
- groundwater monitoring;
- installation, operation and downloading of data from rainfall gauges, turbidity meters and transducers;
- installation, water level monitoring and sampling of groundwater levels in dip wells; and
- laboratory coordination and result interpretation.
FLUID staff are experienced in drilling supervision, pumping test operation, monitoring and assessment. Projects have ranged from the installation of shallow hand augered wells to the drilling supervision of deep monitoring wells monitoring multiple large diameter pumping wells to several hundred metres depth. These activities also involve the control and regulation of discharges from testing.
FLUID staff have also worked with community groups in developing countries to promote participation in monitoring. This has involved educating communities, through both field and classroom based sessions in Spanish and English, of the procedures for monitoring, the basics of the water cycle and the potential changes that can occur in their catchment through project development.
Our expertise in GIS provides visualisation and mapping, information and scenario modelling to investigate relationships and interactions between different data sets to inform decision making and development design.
GIS incorporates an array of information and mapping source, such as, OS mapping, digital terrain data, topographical data, current and historical aerial imagery, ecological habitats and protected species mapping, geological and soil mapping, aquifer information, flood risk areas and field survey data into one manageable and presentable system.
Using GIS, we develop overlaying information layers and models for interactive characteristics to ease the assessment. Disciplines, such as, groundwater dependent terrestrial ecosystems and peat slide risk assessment the review of mapping with field data is critical for comparing the ecological habitats, water features and ground conditions with specific infrastructure footprints.
- Data analysis and presentation;
- Map and figure production;
- Constraints mapping;
- Peat depth contour mapping;
- Spatial analysis of peat depth surveys for peat volume extraction calculations;
- GPS photographic surveys to produce client enabled interactive coverage of sites;
- Slope and aspect analysis;
- Runoff analysis; and,
- Peat slide risk assessment modelling.