Environmental Accounting for Beginners

Most organisations which could potentially pollute are accountable for their environmental impact, and are usually governed by strict regulations. Which means you are responsible for monitoring, managing the data properly, interpreting it and creating reports for large and multiple data types from multiple sources.

In a little more detail, organisations are given various permits and obligations by their regulator(s).  These contain various requirements and conditions.  Typically these are along the lines of:

  • Which locations must be measured, at what frequency, and for what parameters.
  • There will often be compliance limits set, some fixed levels, some calculated, averaged or combined or compared with other readings.
  • There will then be reporting frequencies and formats.

So the task of the Environmental Manager is to plan or schedule who must collect readings, from where, when, and for what.  This is often called a monitoring plan.

Using the monitoring plan, as readings (data) is received the manager needs to check the incoming data against the plan for completeness.  This could be coming directly from equipment, from field technicians, labs or consultants, and so there will be varying degrees of delay from the samples being taken to the data being received.

As well as completeness, validation is needed.  This is to screen the data for erroneous or impossible readings, and for compliance against the various compliance levels which may apply.  At this point, any calculations required should be done, and possibly re-checking compliance for resultant readings as appropriate. To ensure accurate interpretation and reporting, the data must be kept secure so that readings cannot be changed without permission, and where they are changed, a history should be kept. Interpretation of the various datasets requires the collation of readings, possibly on graphs or maps with trends or compliance information overlaid. Often compliance reports have pre-set layouts and formats into which the readings must be placed prior to sending to the regulator. This can be time-consuming, complex, error-prone and expensive when done manually, especially on larger installations which might have hundreds of sampling locations and parameters to measure. Keeping on top of important legal emission requirements and risk assessments can quickly become a mountain too big to climb.

This is where an Environmental Data Management System comes into play.

 

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About EHS Data

EHS Data is a world-leading UK based software company providing Environmental Data Management Solutions to over 1,000 sites in 40 countries worldwide. Since 1996, their versatile software solution, MonitorPro has helped organisations save time, improve planning, quality control, site analysis and reporting to manage environmental obligations and sustainability. MonitorPro is the first EHS Software solution to receive an MCERTS accreditation from the Environmental Agency.

 

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