Article Index


1.6.1 Pollution Prevention: Methods and Tools

In Germany, routine measurements are made in the environmental areas of air, noise and water. These measurements are to ensure that the quality of such media is checked as well as to evaluate any measures necessary in order to insure safety or improve quality. The legal basis for measurements intended to monitor environmental air quality is the “Federal Immission Control Act” (Bundes-Immissionsgesetz, BImSchG [1]). It contains the requirements for the installation and operation of facilities which might potentially do damage to the environment. Legal and administrative regulations make these requirements more concrete.

In order to ensure that these regulations have been abided by, the BImSchG gives the governmental authorities the possibility to order either discontinuous emission monitoring at regular intervals or if mass flows are large by means of continuous measurements. Emission monitoring is part of the catalogue of measures provided for in the Federal Immission Control Act [1]. §7 BImSchG empowers the German Federal Government to take legal measures to require that the operation and self-monitoring of facilities which require governmental approval fulfil specific standards.

A Europe-wide requirement for emission monitoring exists at present:

  • for large-scale incineration plants 2001/80/EG [16]
  • for the incineration of household waste 2000/76/EG [17]
  • for certain activities and facilities using organic solvents (VOC-Guidelines) 1999/13/EG

European guidelines are to be made a valid part of national law within set time limits. In part, national legislation already includes the EC requirements. Where this is not the case, laws will be revised or new laws initiated (e. g. the revised version of the 17th BImSchV of 14 August 2003).

Concerning land pollution a central monitoring instrument developed in recent years is the nationwide network of long-term soil monitoring sites designated by the Länder and covering a representative cross-section of landscape types, soils, land use profiles and pollution loads. At these sites, soil quality is documented in a comprehensive programme of soil chemistry, soil physics and soil biology studies. Climate data, substance inputs and outputs, and changes in site biocoenosis are measured continuously to assess substance flows. These data are used both to record current soil quality and to predict future changes.

Differing measurement methods used to investigate the same object of measurement do not always produce comparable results. To be more precise: The object of measurement is only finally defined by the choice of the measurement method. Therefore it is imperative to standardize measurement and analysis methods in order to make measurement results comparable when differing methods have been used at different sites. Before their publication, the [DIN and VDI] regulations were first subjected to the most thorough testing. These testing procedures included determining the statistical characteristic value and the potential sites where such procedures would be used as well as any limitations they might have. Standardized measurement methods are therefore an efficient tool for determining emissions.