ABSTRACT

Assessment of environmental quality and environmental risk is becoming a requirement associated to any industrial development and in impact analyses of industrial sites. The Ecological Risk Analysis is a hierarchical, multi-level methodology, starting with the identification of the problem and the definition of the related risk hypothesis, in support to the adoption of the best management options. The multidisciplinary approach of the Weight of Evidence (WOE) is an essential component in the ERA procedures, to assess and classify the ecological status of the environment by integrating various elements of quality.

Offshore industry has to deal mainly with quality assessment in marine sediments contaminated by hydrocarbons and metals released by the exploration and production activities, and WOE approach has been developed to overcame the limits of sediment characterization based only on chemical analyses. WOE is aimed at weighting and integrating heterogeneous data from different types of chemical and biological investigations. Choosing the most appropriate lines of inquiry depends on the conceptual model that has been adopted, and on the local environmental conditions. ERA analysis is a site-specific procedure and analytical steps and risk characterization may require different levels of detail and quantification of different environmental/contamination variables. The integration of data obtained by a multidisciplinary approach provides an added value compared to support complex decisional.

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