What makes a good environmental monitor!
Often times the role of an environmental monitor can be confusing, if you have worked with any in the past then you are well aware of the vast differences and often time misleading information as to what the actual role of an environmental monitor is.
The primary role of an environmental monitor is one of assurance, by this I mean he or she is there to reassure you that what you are doing is within the legal binding of the contract, this may mean project scope or federal/provincial regulations. The environmental monitor is there to help you make the best decision possible when it comes to environmental issues and concerns. Often times environmental monitors take on a role of there own, this happens when both parties are really not sure on the role of the monitor. Giving complete control of work stoppage to the environmental monitor is something that I don't recommend, this adds to the likely hood of significant conflict.
As stated before the primary role of the monitor is one of assurance, helping you to achieve the highest level of environmental stewardship while at the same time completing your project. Don't think of the monitor as a duty but as something that can be used to help the project move forward. When selecting a company for monitoring services I recommend looking a little harder, often times larger consulting firms will have there most junior staff as Environmental monitors, they are often given little heads up and provided with little information regarding the project. If using the service of any environmental consultant I highly recommend insisting that all the project information be given to who ever is actually going to be the monitor with at least a weeks notice. this gives the monitor time to go through the project scope and get caught up an all applicable regulations. Having an environmental monitor on site can be a nightmare if he or she does not know what they are doing (often the fault of the company not the individual) but they can also be a tremendous resource that can be used to streamline and insure that the project stays within the regulations and on time.