Environmental Monitoring during construction of the Vasilikos LNG Receiving and Regasification Terminal Project
1.5 year (January 2023 – July 2024)
Natural Gas Infrastructure Company (ETYFA)
CPP – Metron Consortium (CMC) Ltd.
IACO Environmental & Water Consultants Ltd.
ENVECO International Ltd.
Marine & Environmental Research Lab was contracted to provide specialized marine-related services and monitor compliance with the Environmental Conditions set by the Town Planning Permit during the construction of the Vasilikos LNG Receiving and Regasification Terminal, a 1.2 km marine jetty and 14 m wide, which will serve the Floating Storage and Regasification Unit (FSRU) of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) with a capacity of up to 160,000 m³. This is the largest investment so far for the Republic of Cyprus in the energy sector and falls within the development area of the Vasilikos Master Plan, between the Vasilikos Power Station of the Cyprus Electricity Authority on the west side and the Archirodon port and the marine jetty and storage facilities for petroleum products of VVT Vasiliko Ltd (VTTV) on the east side. It is a project of Common Interest of the European Union.
The Environmental Opinion no. 02.10.011.005.009.006 – 5/10/2017 of the Department of the Environment asks for monitoring of an array of physicochemical and biological parameters that will be monitored throughout the construction phase of the project, estimated to last around 18 months. Highest impact levels on the marine ecosystem are anticipated during the piling activities to construct the marine jetty.
- Underwater current and wave characteristics are measured continuously with an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (Aquadopp) and SeaView’s SVS-603 wave sensor, connected on a NexSens CB-450 buoy that transmits data on real-time.
- Turbidity levels are measured continuously with a Eureka sensor connected on a NexSens CB-150 buoy that transmits data on real-time.
- Noise is measured on a monthly basis with LS1 acoustic recorder with HTI-96-min hydrophone deployed for at least 24 hours at a fish farm ~1.5 km away from the development.
- Sediment is sampled every six months from three locations and analyzed to determine: Cd, Pb, Ni, Cr, Cu, Zn, V, Hg, Fe, As, Co, Mn, Sn, Sb, P, TPH, PAHs, PCBs, pH, organic matter, soil porosity, bulk density, water capacity, tributyltin compounds, Cybutryne.
- Water is sampled every six months from three locations and analyzed to determine: pH, T, salinity, dissolved oxygen, TPH, FOG, COD, BO, Cd, Pb, Ni, Cr, Cu, Zn, V, Hg, Fe, As, Chlorophyll-a, EC, PCBs, TP, TN, NO3–, NO2–, tributyltin compounds, Cybutryne.
- Farmed fish and invasive fish species will be sampled during the peak of construction to measure concentrations of Pb, Cd, Hg και PAHs in their flesh.
The priority habitat that will be monitored during construction is the protected seagrass meadows formed by the endemic Posidonia oceanica. Seagrasses are particularly sensitive to sedimentation. Following the construction of the marine jetty the seagrass meadows will be mapped again with a Side Scan Sonar to compare with the map produced during the Environmental Baseline Survey.
The coverage and density of rhizomes in the P. oceanica meadows will be measured by divers twice during construction (every nine months), from within 36 permanent quadrats (size 0.16 m2), positioned and monitored at nine sites and three bathymetric zones (upper, intermediate and lower limits) during the Environmental Baseline Survey.
Physiological variables able to indicate stress of the seagrass quicker than demographic or structural variables will also be assessed twice (every nine months) during the construction phase. More specifically, the concentrations of total carbohydrates from the rhizomes (TNC – total non-structural carbohydrates, i.e. starch and sugars), and from the leaves C (Carbon), N (Nitrogen) and the heavy metals Cd, Pb, Hg and Cu will be measured and compared to the baseline values.
Biotic Indexes targeting all three Biological Quality Elements (BQEs) will be applied twice (every nine months) during construction at three sampling stations for each BQE and compared with values measured during the Environmental Baseline Survey:
- Posidonia oceanica – To assess the ecological status with the BQE oceanica, the PREI index will be applied. This biotic index uses five parameters of P. oceanica: (a) depth at the lower limits of the meadow, (b) meadow characterization at the lower limits, (c) shoot density at 15 m depth, (d) leaf area per shoot at 15 m depth m and (e) dry mass ratio of P. oceanica epiphytes / leaves at 15 m depth.
- Macroalgae – The Ecological Evaluation Index (EEI) classifies macrophytes into: (a) sensitive species (ESG I: species bearing thick/hard or calcareous thalli and following strategy k, i.e. slow growth rates and long life cycles), and (b) opportunistic species (ESG II: filamentous and flattened species, which follow strategy r, i.e. fast growth rates and short life cycles).
- Macrofauna – Sediment will be collected with a Van Veen grab, sieved with 1 mm mesh sized sieve, organisms will be sorted and identified to the lowest taxa possible. Biodiversity and community-based and statistical comparisons with baseline values will be made. To assess the ecological state with this BQE the BENTIX index will be applied. BENTIX classifies macrofauna into two categories based on their degree of resistance or sensitivity to pollution. Group I (GS): Species sensitive to any form of disturbance. Group II (GT): Opportunistic species, which display resistance to disturbances or stressors and whose populations may increase when there is organic matter enrichment or other form of pollution.