American Journal of Environmental Sciences

Implementation of Environmental Management Systems in the Extraction of Construction Aggregates from Gravel Pit Lakes

Serena Botta, Claudio Comoglio, Alberto Quaglino and Andrea Torchia

DOI : 10.3844/ajessp.2009.526.535

American Journal of Environmental Sciences

Volume 5, Issue 4

Pages 526-535

Abstract

Problem statement: Mining operations are strategic and essential industrial activities which rely on the use of non renewable natural resources, causing several relevant interactions with the environment. Approach: The need to perform in compliance with even more stringent environmental legislation and to satisfy different stakeholders demands and pressures, is progressively leading the mining sector towards the implementation of Environmental Management Systems (EMS). However scientific literature outlined a relevant research gap in the absence of specific technical guidelines to facilitate such voluntary environmentally responsible approach in the different sectors of mining. Results: Therefore the present study was focused on the extraction of construction aggregates from gravel pit lakes, sector characterized by peculiar operations and related environmental problems. Through the analysis of representative sites (located in Piedmont Region-NW Italy), where the environmental components of the interested territories, the equipments used and operations carried out, the main legal requirements, the environmental problems and monitoring systems were examined, the research identified environmental problems and practices which could be considered common to this sector and be taken into account during the EMS implementation. In particular the study, with reference to the ISO 14001 requirements, focused on the analysis and monitoring of the environmental aspects and to the identification of specific operational and monitoring procedures which should be defined by the organization within the EMS. Conclusion: Therefore the main results of the research presented in this study supplied specific technical elements to be used by the companies operating gravel pit lakes for a correct and exhaustive EMS implementation and represented a new contribution for a more widespread adoption of ISO 14001 in the mining sector.

Copyright

© 2009 Serena Botta, Claudio Comoglio, Alberto Quaglino and Andrea Torchia. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.