RSK Group plc

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Marine and intertidal monitoring and assessment, Kuwait

Background

As part of the Consortium of International Consultants, RSK was involved in assessing the nature and the extent of the contamination of Kuwait’s marine and coastal environment resulting from Iraq’s invasion and occupation of the country in 1990/1991. The assessment was to support a claim via the United Nations Compensation Committee for environmental damages.

Solution

RSK developed a sampling programme to provide information to determine the extent of ongoing impacts to Kuwait’s marine areas.

The five-year study aimed to

  • Supplement data on the seasonal patterns of physical, chemical and biological oceanographic conditions in Kuwait’s marine and intertidal environment
  • Conduct sampling at transects along the coastline of Kuwait for biological and chemical characterisation to determine the nature and extent of oil contamination in the sediments of the intertidal zone
  • Conduct special studies and toxicological investigations to assess the ecological risk associated with oil contamination
  • Characterise the biological community structure (abundance and diversity) and compare it with pre-invasion data
  • Generate information to assist in selecting remediation technologies and identifying where they might be required
  • Generate information in response to the United Nations Compensation Committee’s requests for additional information, including providing evidence to an international court.

RSK staff based in Kuwait undertook long-term field monitoring and assessment of the marine environment. The monitoring incorporated offshore surveys to sample the benthic sediments and surveys at strategic locations on the shoreline to sample intertidal sediments.

Outcome

RSK’s data and supporting documentation were key components in the United Nations Compensation Committee’s assessment of the costs that Kuwait could claim for environmental damage to the marine and intertidal environments.

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