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Industrial Environmental Monitoring

The aim of industrial environmental monitoring

Industrial environmental monitoring, or IEM, is carried out to ensure the implementation of measures for environmental protection, rational use of natural resources, and prevention of negative impact of business on the environment, as well as to comply with the environmental protection requirements established in Russia.

IEM goals:

  • Ensure compliance of NLMK's operations with the requirements of the Russian environmental legislation;
  • Monitor the implementation of environmental protection measures;
  • Monitor compliance with the requirements of state supervision authorities;
  • Monitor compliance with the operating conditions and technical state of environmental protection equipment;
  • Control over the maintenance of environmental protection documents;
  • Control over the handling of production and consumption waste.

Every year, experts of the NLMK Industrial Environment Department carry out comprehensive audits in the plant's subdivisions to verify their compliance with the requirements of environmental protection regulatory documents for all types of impacts. In addition, daily inspection control is carried out in the structural divisions of NLMK to check the efficiency of environmental protection activities.

Following the comprehensive audits and inspections, the company's subdivisions are developing and implementing corrective measures.

In 2016, the Lipetsk site set up an Internal Environmental Improvement System (IEIS).

This is the only project implemented by steel producers in Russia to get assistance from the Group’s employees to identify and prevent potential environmental incidents on a continual basis.

Monitoring parameters are determined at each facility and its surrounding territory, and then monitored by employees. Once identified, potentially harmful situations are inputted into a computer system. A responsible employee is assigned and a timeframe is set for eliminating the potential threat. The system encourages not only to promptly eliminate threats, but also to prevent negative environmental impacts, helps to improve the management of environmental aspects, and ensures environmental safety.

In 2017–2018, the IEIS was rolled out at all production sites of NLMK Group. Every year the Group gives out awards to the best units and employees for the best annual IEIS results.

500
control points at the plant
18
points in the city
90,000
measurements per year
10
measurements every hour

The Group employs environmental production monitoring procedures with support from accredited laboratories.

This is part of the environmental production control and includes the monitoring of:

  • Industrial emissions of harmful substances from stationary sources;
  • Surface layer of atmospheric air at the border of the company’s sanitary protection zone;
  • Quality of surface, natural drinking water, and waste water;
  • Soils.

Quality control of industrial emissions is carried out for 26 substances at the border of the sanitary protection zone. The quality control of natural water (surface water, drinking water) is carried out for 29 parameters, and wastewater for 21 parameters.

The frequency of monitoring is defined in the Air Monitoring Schedule that covers the border of the NLMK sanitary protection zone and the surrounding areas. The schedule was developed by NLMK and approved by Rospotrebnadzor (Russian Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing).

Currently, a project is underway to install online monitoring devices at eight points on the border of the NLMK sanitary protection zone and another four points in the city. It is planned to install automatic systems for continuous measurement.

Simulation of emissions impact

A digital service has been developed as part of an innovative approach to assessing the impact of NLMK on the level of atmospheric emissions. As a result, the time it takes to perform an analysis of the state of the atmosphere in various sections is significantly reduced. The programme automatically creates easy-to-read graphs and diagrams.

Data from daily measurements (three measurements per day) performed for nine substances in twelve points across the city, as well as data from five observation posts of the Federal Hydrometeorological Service, are processed to assess the impact on atmospheric pollution in Lipetsk. The assessment methodology itself and the digital monitoring data processing service are innovations that enable efficiency improvement of decision-making in terms of atmospheric air protection.

Analysis of visible emissions

Currently, a system for analyzing NLMK's visible emissions is being developed using machine vision algorithms and deep learning methods. This will enable identification of any atypical emissions into the atmosphere recorded by video surveillance cameras; determine their location, and the estimated volume. Upon receiving the results, the production department experts and the plant’s Industrial Environment Department will conduct detailed analysis and determine the causes of emissions.

Video cameras cover the main facilities of the plant with significant gross emissions, companies with a significant visible impact on the atmosphere at the plant border, and sources with specific odours. The cameras also capture the view of the site as seen by Lipetsk residents.

Unmanned aerial vehicles for environmental monitoring

The use of unmanned aerial vehicle technology has expanded the ability to monitor the environmental situation on the plant’s premises and beyond, enabling coverage of the entire area, including inaccessible segments and facilities, and to increase the frequency of control.