What is Environmental Consulting?

Summer Banks

Environmental consulting involves one company ensuring compliance of environmental rules and regulations for another company. The consultant will often work with the business to address any issues that could result in sanctions against the client company. Sanctions are legal ramifications that may involve the payment of a fine. Environmental consulting can be necessary in various fields, including construction and waste management.

An environmental consultant may help a company reduce water and other types of pollution.
An environmental consultant may help a company reduce water and other types of pollution.

In construction, an environmental consulting firm can monitor asbestos and lead hazards that could cause harm to the builders or inhabitants of the building once construction is complete. If a problem is found, the consultant will often work with the builder to address the hazard in order to meet environmental regulations. This may occur in either residential or commercial construction projects.

Environmental consultants may work with waste management companies.
Environmental consultants may work with waste management companies.

Waste management issues affect many industries. Commercial businesses, waste management companies and construction companies typically all deal with waste and its removal. Environmental firms often work with these companies to assure compliance with local, state and federal environmental guidelines and to ensure waste removal is done with minimal effect on the local ecosystems.

Environmental consulting is often considered an eco-friendly choice for businesses. While many companies are concerned about the impact their business has on the environment, the employment of an environmental consulting company can also be used as a marketing tool for the business. When a company makes eco-friendly changes, it can promote itself as being green or environmentally-conscious.

To work in environmental consulting, a degree in environmental engineering is often required. Colleges usually offer both four-year bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees in this field. Such training or coursework is often focused on environmental science. In addition to a formal degree, environmental agencies may require a consultant to complete classes on governmental regulations. As laws and regulations change, continuing education may be required.

Once hired by an environmental firm, a consultant may be required to conduct surveys, collect data, and interpret the information collected. This data will often be compiled into a report for the business. If any issues are found to be in violation of environmental regulations, the consultant may be required to develop a plan to correct the problem, and present that plan to the business' leaders.

When working with a client company, consulting engineers may also work with the business to develop environmental management systems and write environmental policies. These policies can include the assessment of air, land, and water pollution that may occur as a result of the company's current waste management practices.

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