ECC Compliance Monitoring for the Atimonan One Energy 2x600MW Coal-Fired Power Plant Project

In 2018-2019 and 2020-2021, Aperçu Consultants conducted the environmental monitoring program (EMoP) for Atimonan One Energy (A1E). The EMoP was done to assess the impacts of the 2x600MW Coal-Fired Power Plant Project on Barangay Villa Ibaba, Atimonan, Quezon and the surrounding environment. Aperçu Consultants conducted quarterly monitoring for the water quality, marine ecology, ambient air and noise quality, and soil quality for contamination assessment. Semi-annual monitoring was done for terrestrial fauna ecology and annual monitoring for terrestrial flora ecology. 

Water Quality

The water quality of surface water, marine water, and groundwater were assessed and compared against the DENR standard (where applicable) and previous monitoring measurements. Parameters measured for water quality included: biochemical oxygen demand, chloride, color, dissolved oxygen, fecal coliform, nitrate, pH, phosphate, temperature, total suspended solids, salinity, total dissolved solids, sulfate, total coliform, turbidity, oil and grease, Cr+6, Pb, Cd, Hg, and As.

Marine Ecology

Various stations in Lamon Bay were assessed for the abundance, dominance, density, percent cover, species richness, and biomass of the plankton, corals, fish, and benthos communities. The findings were compared to previous monitoring reports to assess the impacts of the coal-fired power plant on the marine ecology of Atimonan. 

Ambient Air and Noise Quality

The ambient air quality parameters measured were: sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), total suspended particulates (TSP), and PM10. Heavy metals such as lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), mercury (Hg), and arscenic (As) were also monitored. Data was gathered at multiple locations within and around the project site.

Soil Quality for Contamination Assessment

The stations established during the impact assessment study were reassessed to check for any contaminants such as oil, diesel, ash, and wastewater that may have originated from the coal-fired power plant. The soil was also assessed for pH, Cd, Cr+6, Pb, As, and Hg.

Terrestrial Fauna Ecology

Three major terrestrial vertebrate groups (mammals, birds, and herpeto-fauna) were assessed for species richness, diversity, abundance, and endemicity. All sampling stations were the same ones assessed during the first ECC compliance monitoring on A1E.

Terrestrial Flora Ecology

Terrestrial flora was assessed for ecosystem stability, productivity, growth and reproductive performance. Specific parameters measured were: population counts, density, occurrence, frequency, dominance, diversity, evenness, abundance, importance values, and species observed. Any presence of natural and anthropogenic disturbances were also noted. 

A1E 2x600MW Coal-Fired Power Plant Project

An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was prepared for Atimonan One Energy’s (A1E) application for an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) of its proposed 2x600MW Coal-Fired Power Plant. The project is located in Barangay Villa Ibaba, Atimonan, Quezon and has approximately 139.31 kilometers in land area. The project is a response to the country’s growing demand for electrical power, especially in Luzon.

To prepare for the EIS, Aperçu Consultants Inc. conducted the following activities:

Land Module

Land Use and Classification

Land use data from the Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) of Atimonan classified the location of the project site as mainly coconut and brushland, designated for agriculture use. The Sangguniang Bayan passed two ordinances to reclassify 70 hectares for industrial use for the project. A Foreshore Lease Agreement application was also filed for the 9 hectare foreshore area belonging to the project site.

Geology and Geomorphology

An assessment of the geology of the project site accompanied with a study of hazard maps was conducted to  identify the potential impacts that may occur within the project location induced by geologic hazards, particularly those associated with mass movement, earthquakes, and flooding.

Pedology

Soil within the project site was classified according to the soil map of Quezon Province. To determine soil quality, samples were collected from sampling stations within the project site and its vicinity and analyzed. Impacts to the soil quality were identified.

Terrestrial Ecology

Sampling was conducted for the collection of floral data within the impact area. Vegetation was delineated according to their land use and the plants were identified and classified. Assessment of the fauna in the impact area was also conducted, which included birds,  mammals, amphibians. Impacts to the flora and fauna during the pre-construction, construction, and operational were identified and the mitigating measures and management plan were established.

Water Module

Hydrology/Hydrogeology

To determine the baseline conditions of the project area before the proposed project, information on the drainage morphology, hydrogeology, rainfall and streamflow measurements, spring and well point inventory, water availability, aquifers, and major water users were collected and summarized.  Flood and drought occurrences were also studied. 

Oceanography

Collecting information on the tides, bathymetry, and the conduct of a hydrographic survey are used to establish the baseline parameters within the impact area. Thermal plume modeling was done to assess the possible impacts of the project.

Water Quality

The baseline data of the water quality in the project site for the impact determination of the project were determined based on the parameters of the water samples from marine, freshwater and groundwater sampling stations collected from the project site and its vicinity.

Freshwater Ecology

Sampling stations were established in the rivers found near the project site where the habitat was assessed and plankton, macrobenthos, and fish samples were collected and identified. The impacts of the project to these organisms as well as the water quality of the river were determined and corresponding mitigating and management measures were established.

Marine Ecology

Assessments for the coral reef, fish communities, as well as marine water and sediment samples collected from sampling stations for benthos and plankton identification were conducted. These marine resources were characterized. Occurrences of red tide cases within the impact area were also studied. The threats to the existence of these species and other marine resources due to the project were identified and mitigating measures were established.

Air Module

Meteorology

Information on the meteorological conditions at the project site were described and parameters that directly contribute to air pollution and climate change were established. Impacts from the project that affect climate change projections and greenhouse gas emissions were determined.

Ambient Air Quality

Measurement of the ambient levels of criteria pollutants were used to describe the existing ambient air conditions  in the project area. Sources of air emissions and existing air pollutant levels were determined. Surveys to determine the pollutants (SO₂, NO₂, TSP, PM10, lead) and trace metals due to coal combustion emissions were conducted. The results were used for air dispersion modeling.

Ambient Noise

Ambient noise level measurements during the construction and operation phase of the project were described and were assessed by modeling and compared to the guidelines from DENR.

People Module

Collection of primary and secondary data to establish the baseline information in the impact area was carried out. Information on the population, gender and age, health, socio-economics, education, nutrition, employment, industry, crime, agriculture, and social services were summarized and perception surveys were conducted. Potential impacts from this information were identified and mitigating measures for the impacts were established.

Environmental Risk Assessment (ERA)

All probable risks and sources of accidents that might come from the project are identified and screened. Risk estimation and probability occurrence of these accidents due to the project are presented and emergency response measures were recommended to combat these risks.

The Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) for the project was issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in October 2015 with ECC Reference No. ECC-CO-1412-0029. The ECC is available at the following link.