An environmental consultant wears quite a few hats. Environmental consultants, who are usually involved with most government programs and major industries, and often with relatively smaller projects, are responsible for environmental management, problem solving, analysis, and the storage of crucial data.
They often come face-to-face with very challenging and difficult to deal with environmental issues.
For example, a consultant is often involved with chemical cleanups, development issues, emissions issues, endangered species issues, industrial site rehabilitation, mining projects, recycling, storm water runoff, waste management and landfills, and wildlife habitats.
An environmental consultant is hired as an expert advisor and bills his or her clients on an hourly basis.
Historically environmental consultants were primarily involved in situations that involved undoing past damages or remediation. However, they have now become instrumentally involved with new projects.
For example, before beginning construction, the entities in charge of major residential developments will often make environmental safeguards an integral part of their management plans.
Although environmental studies are usually required by law, people in the construction industry know that just having environmental studies conducted is considered to be a wise practice. That’s because the initial environmental site analysis may find issues that could evolve into major problems for them, the local wildlife, or the future residents of the project they are working on.
Most people know that large amounts of water can destroy a foundation. But did you know that the harmless looking maidenhair fern means that there’s a lot of water around? You might not know that, but a consultant whose focus is the environment does.
Aside from potentially destroying the foundations of buildings about to be constructed, the water that the construction site is on might actually be a source that feeds the local water supply.
Without this knowledge the developer might install sewage pipes and drains that could contaminate the local water supply system. If that were to happen, aside from the potentially serious health consequences, fixing this mistake could take many millions of dollars.
Here are some additional issues an environmental consultant might find:
• Soil erosion that was or could be caused by removing vegetation
• Water-logging which would be the result of building near a wetland
• Site risks that are related to aquifers, natural drainage, and water courses
• Subsidence that could be caused by removing trees
An environmental consultant usually works during regular business hours. However, their job could involve a lot of extra time and it could include a considerable amount of site work and analysis.
Although the median salary for an environmental consultant is $50,000 per year, his or her income would actually depend on the nature of the employment contract, the nature of the work, and the nature of their specialization.