Activities

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The main activities of SMARAGD-GSH Ltd. are research, engineering, licensing and construction in all fields of environmental protection and water management.

Our main activities are the followings:

Water resources research; engineering, licensing and construction of water supply wells
(drinking water, mineral water, thermal water, irrigation water) |
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Currently there is an increased demand for the construction of mineral water and thermal water supply wells in Hungary. The idea of the replacement of drinking water supply wells due to water quality problems or ruin of the well arises, as well. Because of frequently occurring droughts, demand for irrigation wells also increases. In the last decades, utilization of geothermic heat is progressively rising in Hungary.

Preparatory to well drilling completion of a hydrogeological study in the area is needed to get acquainted with the detailed geological background of the area, depth and extent of the aquifer.

Before constructing the well, an application for water rights implementation permit must be received from the authorities: this is necessary for the licensing of the well. If the yield of the proposed well exceeds a limited quantity or the aquifer is already recharged by other wells or the construction of the well and the recharged water quantity may affect nature reserves an environmental impact study must be prepared.

After drilling the well a well log is prepared which is a requisite for well documentation.

Well documentation includes the data of construction (location and capacity of the well, water quality etc.). When the well documentation is finished, an application for operating licence must be applied for at the authorities.

Research on geothermal energy; engineering of water supply facilities | bovebben

Geothermal heat is renewable energy, however when the heat is gained from deep thermal water aquifers the water must be injected back to the deep strata after utilization. Previous to construction of a geothermal well, a hydrogeological survey is needed in the area because the location and depth of the aquifer and tectonic zones must be specified. Based on the results of the survey a proposal can be made on the location of the wells.

Heat transport hydrodynamic modelling – which is one of the main activities of our firm – plays a significant role in geothermal research. The exploited thermal water must be re-injected to the aquifer after utilization. Re-injection of the water is a basic interest of water users because groundwater supply is very slow in great depths; over-utilization may result in exhaustion of the thermal aquifer and change of the groundwater system. The construction of injection wells is a special professional field of hydrogeology.

Water supply protection and diagnostics | bovebben

95% of the available drinking water originates from groundwater, mainly from vulnerable aquifers in Hungary. Vulnerability means that in most cases the aquifer consists of geological strata that are not protected from surface contamination mostly of human origin. Therefore the Hungarian Government proposed the implementation of a long-term protection of water supplies programme. The main goals of the programme are prevention of the groundwater from contamination of human origin and maintaining good groundwater quality in the recharge area of the water supplies.

The inner wellhead protection zone must be determined in case of all water supplies. The outer wellhead protection zone and hydrogeological protection zones and profiles must be delineated in case of vulnerable water supplies. In case of non-vulnerable water supplies and other drinking water abstractions (including mineral and medicinal waters) the later is not obligatory but the operator may request it.

Groundwater is the property of the Hungarian State. In order to protect groundwater and water supplies a governmental programme (“Diagnostic survey of vulnerable operating and long-range water supplies”) started in 1997 that involved 614 operating and 71 long-range water supplies. The diagnostic programme was funded by the State; the investors were water conservancy directorates. From 2008 the programme is funded by the EU in the framework of Environment and Energy Operational Programme (KEOP) KEOP 2.2.3. subprogram, when regional waterworks and municipalities became the beneficiaries of the projects.

According to the law, the first step of securing a water supply is specifying the protection zones. All further measures concern to the territory of protection zones.

The protection zones are specified by applying hydrodynamic numeric modelling according to the elapsed time during a water particle and the contaminants get to the place of water abstraction. Modelling is based on well test and hydrogeological measurements which explore the detailed geological background and hydrogeological conditions of the area.

In the framework of diagnostic investigations, a state survey is completed in the area of the protection zones in order to support to plan the necessary measures. In the beginning of the state survey, a reconnaissance is carried out for the assessment of land use and potential contaminant sources that may affect water quality in case of havaria. The contaminated areas are explored applying soil and groundwater sampling and composition analyses.

A water safety plan is completed on the basis of state survey that consists of the round of the duties that protect the water supply. Decision of the authorities is based on the water safety plan.

In order to ensure the protection of the supply wells, the inner wellhead protection zone must be the property of the state or municipality. In case of other protection zones the owner of the area is responsible for the regulations determined by the law.

If soil and groundwater pollution occur, the elimination of the contaminants is the duty of the responsible person or organization; its expenses debits responsible leaders, as well.

For the continuous monitoring of the quality and quantity of water resources a monitoring system is established in almost all cases of the water supplies.

Delineation of water supply protection zones | bovebben

According to the law (123/1997. (VII.28.) Government Regulation) the first step of securing a water supply is the specification of the protection zones. All further measures concern to the protection zones. The protection zones are specified by applying hydrodynamic numeric modelling according to travel time during groundwater and the solved contaminants get to the place of water abstraction. Modelling is based on the well test and hydrogeological measurements which explore the detailed geological background and hydrogeological conditions of the area.

The specification of the protection zones of different travel times serves the purpose of prevention and prohibition of possible future contamination of soil and groundwater.

• The inner wellhead protection zone (20 days travel time) serves the direct protection of the well and water resource from dilapidation and contamination
• The outer wellhead protection zone (a half year travel time) serves the protection against non-degradable, degradable and microbiological contaminations
• The function of hydrogeological ‘A’ (5 years travel time) and hydrogeological ‘B’ (50 years travel time) protection zones is protection from non-degradable contaminations

At the end of the procedure a land registry documentation of the protection zones is completed.

Drinking water safety plan | bovebben

In accordance with World Health Organization (WHO) and based on risk analyses the National Institute of Environmental Health (OKI) regards construction and operation of Water Safety Plans as the most appropriate and most effective method for sustaining safe water supply. The base of the method is a comprehensive risk analysis considering all elements of the water supply.

The basic principles of water safety plans are support of “good” water supply practice on behalf of the user, minimizing the amount of potential contaminants in the water, reduction or removal of contaminants from the water applying water purification technologies and preventing possible contamination in the water-system. The guidelines of the method can be applied for all water supply systems regardless their extent and complexity.

Development plan, final construction drawing and rehabilitation of water courses | bovebben

Owing to extreme high precipitation amounts, the highest yields were measured on many water courses in the past few years. Floods occurred not only on the Danube but on smaller water courses as well. Watercourse regulation was necessary in many cases in order to be able to drain off the increased water quantity and it is also needed when the bed is silted up.

Based on the EU Water Framework Directive in the course of watercourse regulation the natural condition of the water course must be considered.

Prior to preparation of the plan, a detailed state study and geodetic measurements must be carried out. In many cases completion of an environmental impact study is necessary, as well.

One of the most important parts of the plan is hydrologic modelling which is e.g. suitable for estimating surface runoff in the watershed.

Hydrogeological research, expedition survey | bovebben

Specifying the characteristics of the water balance, connection between the surface water and groundwater flow systems, surface runoff and recharge are essential for evaluating the available water resources and completing hydrogeological investigations and state surveys.

Besides appropriate methods, sufficient available measured data (yield and groundwater level data) is necessary for adequate evaluations and hydrodynamic modelling in the area.

SMARAGD-GSH Ltd. has widespread experiences on hydrogeological research and proper measuring instruments are available for completing hydrogeological surveys.

Ecological water demand | bovebben

The quality of surface waters and water dependent ecosystems naturally and continuously are changing. ‘Bad status’ may evolve due to natural processes (e.g. droughts) and human activity, as well. Negative effect on the status of groundwater dependent ecosystems can be over-consumption of water resources, when owing to decreased groundwater level there is no sufficient water to maintain the ecosystem.

According to EU Water Framework Directive and water management plan of Hungary (VGT, 2010) groundwater can be utilized with the assumption that the ‘good status’ of surface waters and groundwater dependent ecosystems maintain.

In accordance with the Directive, defining ‘good status’ of the waters and estimation of ecological water demand are essential.

Accredited groundwater and soil sampling | bovebben

According to the law, decision making of the authorities must be based on data obtained from samples which were sampled using accreditation standards.

The Ltd. has sampling accreditation licence of the Hungarian Accreditation Board since 2001. The environmental sampling team is accredited for drinking water, surface water, groundwater and soil sampling. Currently sampling is carried out based on MSZ EN ISO/IEC 17025:2005 standard.

Hydrodynamic and transport modelling | bovebben

SMARAGD-GSH Ltd. was one of the firsts who developed its computerized hydrodynamic modelling activity in Hungary. Hydrodynamic modelling simulates reality. In the last decade numeric modelling progressed a lot, three dimensional models take the part of the two dimensional models with visualization of much better quality.

Applied for the estimation of climate change induced effects, water resources quantity estimations, and determination of protection zones of water supplies in the course of our activity we completed groundwater flow models of many smaller or larger regions.

In order to model groundwater flow systems we use VISUAL MODFLOW, PROCESSING MODFLOW and FEFLOW softwares.

The most important achievement of the Ltd. is the development of a regional 3D heat transport and flow model for a thermal karst reservoir the first in Hungary.

Applying numeric hydrodynamic modelling, the spread of contaminants in the groundwater can be investigated, therefore it can be used for preparing environmental impact studies and technical intervention plans, as well.

Engineering, construction and operation of groundwater monitoring systems | bovebben

SMARAGD-GSH Ltd. is expansively trained in engineering, licensing, construction and operation of groundwater monitoring systems that are appropriate for detecting quality and quantity changes of human or natural origin of the groundwater.

Based on the character of the observed process, a monitoring system may consist of different objects (wells, yield measuring objects, piezometers, water quality measuring tools etc.). With operation of a monitoring system, the operators shall learn the possible quantity and quality problems of the groundwater and can take the proper measures to prevent further damage.

Applying remote transmitters connected to measuring tools set in the monitoring well on-line data (e.g. groundwater level, temperature, electric conductivity) processing is available. Besides saving expenses this method allows continuous data access.

Preparing a geoinformatic (GIS) data base is as an important task as data measuring. Our experts and information devices are competent in preparing and operating GIS data bases that meet the requirements of our clients.

Data evaluation, completion of prognoses, wording measures and preparing reports based on operative law are also included in our monitoring activity.

Construction and operation of GIS databases | bovebben

Appropriate decision making is based on sufficient available and reliable information. Reports, studies and plans are relying on good and retrievable data, as well. Data obtaining, geoinformatic (GIS) data base construction and data storage are as much important tasks as field measuring.

By means of an up-to-date informational system and our professional skills we prepare GIS data bases that meet the requirements of our clients.

Design of water management plans | bovebben

Continuous drinking water supply of excellent quality is a common demand of the society. Agricultural and industrial water demand is important, as well. We prefer medical and energetic use of thermal waters. Bottled mineral water is one of the basic products in the supermarkets. Besides social demands, water is essential for ecosystems as well; in terms of water management this is called ecological water demand.

Satisfying the water demand of different sources requires continuous back-to-back work of public bodies, authorities, water supply management and water management experts.

In order to ensure sufficient water supply for both the society and the ecosystems, a water management plan must be completed on the grounds of EU Water Framework Directive.

Települési környezetvédelmi programok kidolgozása | bovebben

Magyarországon a környezetvédelem tervezési rendszerének kereteit a környezet védelmének általános szabályairól szóló 1995. évi LIII. törvény (Ktv.) teremtette meg, amely kimondja, hogy a környezetvédelmi tervezés alapja a hatévenként megújítandó, az Országgyűlés által jóváhagyott Nemzeti Környezetvédelmi Program (NKP).

A Ktv. 46. § (1) b) pontja szerint a települési önkormányzatoknak a Nemzeti Környezetvédelmi Programra alapozva és a település rendezési tervével összhangban illetékességi területükre önálló települési környezetvédelmi programot kell kidolgozniuk, amelyet a képviselő-testületnek/közgyűlésnek jóvá kell hagynia. A programot szükség szerint - de legalább kétévente – felül kell vizsgálni.

A környezet védelme, a természeti értékek megőrzése napjainkra a társadalmi-gazdasági élet meghatározó részévé vált. A társadalom jólétének, életminőségének javítása hosszú távon csak akkor biztosítható, ha a társadalmi és gazdasági fejlődés természeti örökségünk megőrzésével, természeti erőforrásaink védelmével, fenntartható használatával, a megfelelő környezeti minőség elérésével szerves egységben valósul meg.

A települési környezetvédelmi programok készítésének célja kettős: egyrészt aktívan hozzájárul az országos és regionális szinten prioritásnak tekintett környezeti problémák megoldásához, másrészt hatékony eszköz az adott település helyi problémáinak kezelésére.

Environmental impact studies | bovebben

Environmental impact studies include the complex investigation of the possible impacts of a new or extant activity (industrial, agricultural, services, new investments) on the natural and built environment, human health, ecological systems, groundwater, surface water, soil and air. The preparation of environmental impact studies is prescribed by the law depending on the character and the extent of the activity.

Authorities may order the preparation of environmental impact studies even in the territory of water supply protection zones if it is obligatory due to the law. In these cases the aim of the studies is the assessment of the impact of the given activity on the groundwater.

During the preparatory phase of the study a hydrogeological and environmental geological state survey is prepared that represents the state of the investigated area prior to the remediation activity. Further on the possible changes of the conditions (e.g. groundwater quality) can be detected and compared to the state during the preparatory phase.

Environmental impact studies investigate temporal and spatial distribution and changes of the potential pollutants emitted by the extant or planned object, delimitate the possible range and indicate possible effects of a given object on the ecosystems: air, soil, surface water, groundwater, flora and fauna.

Evaluation of water related projects on the grounds of Water Framework Directive Article 4.7 | bovebben

The evaluation must be made on the grounds of 10. and 11. § of edict 221/2004. (VII. 21.) before the implementation of all projects that presumably endanger the realization of WFD objectives.

WFD evaluation must be made within the framework determined by 2/A. § of edict 314/2005. (XII. 25.). To examine whether a project has relevant or negligible influence on WFD objectives must be determined by the former edict. If negligible influence of a project is proven, it does not fall under the scope of WFD Article 4.7.

In summary WFD evaluation must be made for all water related projects and exemption from Article 4.2 can be applied only in reasonable cases.

Natura 2000 hatásbecslés | bovebben

Amennyiben a tervezett tevékenység, beruházás hatásterülete Natura 2000 területet érint és arra jelentős hatása lehet, akkor el kell készíttetni a Natura 2000 hatásbecslési dokumentációt.

A Natura 2000 területek lehatárolását, fenntartásának célját, az adott területen található közösségi jelentőségű madárfajok, állatfajok, növényfajok felsorolását az európai közösségi jelentőségű természetvédelmi rendeltetésű területekről szóló 275/2004. (X. 8.) Korm. rendelet tartalmazza.

A hatásbecslési dokumentáció tartalmi követelményeit e jogszabály 14. mellékelte határozza meg. A Natura 2000 hatásbecslés készítése során a Natura 2000 terület jelöléséül szolgáló közösségi jelentőségű fajokra és élőhelyekre, valamint azok természetvédelmi helyzetére gyakorolt hatások becslését szükséges elvégezni. A Natura 2000 hatásbecslési dokumentáció önálló dokumentáció, nem része a környezetvédelmi engedélykérelmi dokumentációknak.

Environmental state studies | bovebben

Many of the human activities - mainly industrial - may contaminate soil and groundwater. Due to strict legal regulation the number of environmental pollutions decreased in the last decades. Nowadays the main tasks of environmental test and state studies are to explore long-standing contamination and extension and distribution of contaminants in case of havarias.

In the course of an environmental state study the extension, measure and composition of a possible pollution in the soil and/or groundwater is determined.

The threshold limit for each contaminant in the soil and groundwater is determined by the law. The method of sampling and measurement has significant influence on the reliability of the measurements. Generally contaminants in the soil and groundwater can be explored from bore holes. Following accredited soil and groundwater sampling the samples are delivered to an independent accredited laboratory to carry out the measurements.

The provided data are evaluated applying modelling and data evaluation softwares.

Based on the characteristics of the investigated area and the character and amount of contaminants in the soil and/or groundwater the method of remediation can be determined. Numeric hydrodynamic modelling is adequate e.g. for determination of the predicted flow velocity and flow direction of the contaminants in the groundwater.

On the basis of the results, health and environmental risks caused by the pollution are estimated. On the grounds of health and environmental risks, the remediation threshold limit for the contaminant is specified.

The result of the environmental state study is a technical intervention plan, based on the characteristics of the investigated area and the quality and quantity of contaminants in the soil and/or groundwater the method of remediation can be specified.

Environmental remediation | bovebben

The remediation method is determined by the technological intervention plan based on a state survey, characteristics of the investigated area, quantity and quality of contaminants considering threshold limits.

The environmental remediation services of SMARAGD–GSH Ltd. deal with the removal of pollution or contaminants from groundwater or the soil for the general protection of human health and the environment. The proposed soil purification services involve removal of the polluted soil or in situ methods, as well.

Generally, in situ soil purification method has lower expenses than soil removal, therefore we apply in situ methods that remove or decrease pollutant agents in the soil. In situ methods are biological disposal, aeration, stabilization and chemical bonding. When due to certain circumstances in situ soil cleaning can not be carried out, ex situ on site or off site disposal is applied.

Based on the available hydrogeological data, the first step of groundwater cleaningis the design of a hydrodynamic model. On the grounds of the results of the model the most optimal and cost efficient way of the remediation can be determined that fulfils the requirements of both the authorities (regulatory requirements) and the contracting party. For groundwater cleaning we use our own stripping tool, which we constructed.

A monitoring system ensures the continuous monitoring of the quality of groundwater and soil thus effectiveness of the remediation process can be tracked and controlled.

Research and innovation | bovebben

Based on our skills and investigations, SMARAGD-GSH Ltd. emphasises completion of up-to-date professional studies and surveys that widely represent our professional thinking.

We put a premium on the creation and utilization of our research and technological innovation results. There is a separate internal financing fund in the Ltd. in order to support these activities and aims.

We developed and applied an aeration equipment suitable for removal of hydrocarbons from water with the efficiency of 99.5 %.

We engineered and constructed a reliable automatic water groundwater level registry device named Hydra that can be installed in groundwater monitoring wells. Hydra is used in well tests and completing water supply safety plans.

SMARAGD-GSH Ltd. participated in national funded applied research and innovation projects (GVOP) as the consortium leader. The main task was hydrodynamic modelling supporting methodological research.

Tendering, project management and coordination | bovebben

In order to successfully apply for EU funded tenders and to cooperate in international projects tendering skills are essential; in case of professional tenders it has particular importance when knowledge of professional terminology in drafting of ideas, tasks and aims is crucial.

We are looking for tenders and partners to cooperate in the implementation of our project ideas.

International projects | bovebben

The Ltd. participated in EU funded projects such as PHARE, LIFE, INTERREG and ETE South East Europe Transnational Cooperation Programme. These projects gave us wonderful opportunities to explore the effectiveness of international cooperation. These projects covered extended regional and cross-border water management cooperation programmes. Detailed description of these programmes is presented in main projects.