Quantitative Assessment of Environmental Impact

Bruno Loran

DOI: 10.2190/3XT4-YP5F-E1R7-LJFU


The history of environmental impact and the current requirements, guidelines, and coverage of environmental impact statements are briefly reviewed. A procedure for the assessment of environmental impact is presented, of the following design. The individual components of the environment induced by a proposed action and of the natural environment of the project area are listed, and each impact generated by their interaction is assigned value ratings. The ratings are assembled in an impact-incidence matrix, which is then reordered using a data analysis technique, the bond energy algorithm. The new matrix obtained displays interrelated clusters of high-valued ratings, corresponding to critical environmental areas. The impacts comprising each area are grouped according to similarity of action and effect, and their association may suggest environmental alternatives. The environmental impact from the construction of an additional wastewater treatment plant in a resort area is assessed to illustrate the effectiveness of the procedure.

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