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.Environmental consultants 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