Environmental assessment jobs might include air quality engineers, ecologists, geologists, and biologists. The field includes various specialties in environmental science, depending on the natural resource affected by public and private construction projects. Other titles related to environmental assessment jobs include natural resource specialist, environmental consultant, and environmental risk assessor.
People working in these environmental assessment jobs determine potential impacts of construction projects on soil, water, air quality, or plant and animal life. These professionals also explore ways to mitigate adverse impacts in these areas, and prepare reports to aid decision-making authorities. An environmental assessment report gives the public information about how a project might affect the environment. It also aids government bodies responsible for granting or denying building permits.
A hydrologist might be hired for environmental assessment jobs near wetlands, lakes, or streams. He or she collects and analyzes data in the field to determine how a proposal impacts these areas. The hydrologist might work with an ecologist, botanist, or biologist responsible for studying impacts to plants and animals that live near the body of water.
Environmental assessment jobs near factories or hazardous waste sites require experts in air quality. These scientists predict the level of emissions from these industries and recommend ways to decrease impacts on air quality. They determine if pollutants from these projects might contaminate the air and cause health risks, and determine if the company’s mitigation plans are adequate.
Scientists seeking environmental assessment jobs might work in private industries, government regulatory agencies, or for nonprofit organizations. An environmental protection specialist typically processes impact reports for the government agency overseeing large projects. He or she might also work on setting policy to protect the environment.
Private companies might hire an environmental specialist or consultant as an advisor in the early planning stages of a proposal. These advisors typically review potential impacts of construction projects and look for ways to mitigate any damage. They might identify possible negative impacts to the environment and recommend changes address these concerns. Consultants often prepare environmental assessment reports for the company once they complete the research.
In many regions, environmental assessment is the first step required by law to determine if an impact to the environment might occur. The assessment report lists the government agencies responsible and the person who prepared the document. This report is made available to the public, usually with a defined period of time to receive comments. If significant impacts are found, a full environmental impact statement is generally needed.