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Impacting Factors

Impacting factors are those elements of the project that result in impacts to the environment. Examples include land disturbance, air emissions, and water use.

All projects have characteristics or elements that result in impacts. These characteristics, called impacting factors, are those aspects of the project that produce impacts. Impacting factors include land disturbance, water use, worker activity, energy use, air emissions, noise, waste generation, and water emissions. Impacting factors are associated with all of the various project activities discussed for site characterization, construction, operations, and decommissioning and reclamation.

Identifying these impacting factors is the next step in the impact assessment process. To identify impacting factors, the analyst should determine how each activity or project element could affect the environment. Impacting factors should consider direct impacts and indirect impacts. Direct impacts are those that occur as a direct result of an activity. Indirect impacts are those that are related to but removed from an activity by an intermediate step or process; an example would be changes in the water quality of a lake or stream adjacent to a construction site resulting from soil erosion at the construction site. An example for each project phase is given below. These are provided for illustration purposes only and are not meant to be all-inclusive or comprehensive.

Site Characterization Activity: Seismic Survey

  • Direct Impacting Factors: land disturbance, soil erosion, vehicle exhaust, fuel spills, vehicle noise, worker activity
  • Indirect impacting factors: sediment runoff

Construction Activity: Excavation

  • Direct Impacting Factors: land disturbance, soil erosion, blasting noise, vehicle noise, worker activity, excavated material disposal, vehicle exhaust, fuel spills, dewatering, timing and duration of construction, number of jobs created
  • Indirect Impacting Factors: sediment runoff, demand for services, creation of service jobs to serve increased population

Operational Activity: Coal-Fired Electrical Generation

  • Direct Impacting Factors: land occupied by facility (project footprint), air emissions, particulate deposition, noise, water use, waste water production, cooling tower drift, fly ash production, worked activity, site runoff
  • Indirect Impacting Factors: sediment runoff, pesticide runoff, demand for services, creation of service jobs to serve increased population

Decommissioning and Reclamation: Access Road Removal

  • Direct Impacting Factors: land disturbance, vehicle exhaust, fuel spills, work activity, erosion, noise, site runoff, material disposal, timing and duration of activity
  • Indirect Impacting Factors: sediment runoff