What is an Environmental Consultant?
Table of Contents
An environmental consultant is someone who works on a contractual basis for private and public sector clients, addressing environmental issues such as water pollution, air quality, and soil contamination.
What does an Environmental Consultant do?
Efforts towards renewable energy and technologies producing low emissions are seeing more and more government funding. Organizations that invest in research and development within these areas are also growing, and are one of the places that environmental consultants can be found. They have extensive knowledge on environmental regulations, and can advise clients in private industry or public government institutions on how to steer clear of possible fines, legal action or misguided transactions.
An environmental consultant has the scientific knowledge and technical expertise to conduct thorough environmental assessments. This can prove to be very beneficial to a public or private company. For example, if the company is involved in a court case, the environmental consultant can testify on their behalf. Or if a company is considering buying a piece of land for development, the consultant can fully assess the land before the purchase, and research any previous investigations of that particular site. They may also conduct field surveys, and collect data to establish a baseline condition for levels of pollution or contamination for the area of consideration.
An environmental consultant conducts both field and desk-based research, and will hand over completed and detailed scientific reports, written in a manner that can be understood by non-technical people. Their research will identify whether water, air, or land contamination will have an adverse impact on people or groundwater, for example. They will interpret data, which includes a detailed assessment of the data, sometimes using software-modelling packages to see whether contamination exists in accordance with current legislation.
An environmental consultant addresses issues such as:
- land and water contamination
- waste management policies
- environmental management systems
- air assessment
- environmental impact assessment
- environmental audit
- the management of legislative issues for clients
- the development of conceptual models (identifying and considering potential contaminant sources)
- on-going communication with clients, inspectors and regulators
- identifying previous activities and any contamination when assessing property
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What is the workplace of an Environmental Consultant like?
Some environmental consultants work for a corporation or government agency, either as a full-time or part-time employee, or as a contractor. Yet others work at environmental consulting firms, or work alone as a consultant. Consulting firms include private companies, all levels of government, wildlife organizations, and conservation groups.
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What Do Environmental Consulting Firms Do?
Environmental consulting firms advise clients about social responsibility and sustainability as it relates to the operations of a business. The more of a focus that the world places on themes such as sustainability, which is caring for the environment in such a way that the needs of future generations will be met, the more important the role of environmental consulting firms becomes.
Environmental consulting is often a form of compliance consulting, in which the consultant ensures that the client maintains an appropriate measure of compliance with environmental regulations.
Environmental Consultant Career
Environmental consultants research, design, plan, or perform engineering duties in the prevention, control, and remediation of environmental hazards using various engineering disciplines. Work may include waste treatment, site remediation, or pollution control technology.
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