FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

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To facilitate consultation, the following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) have been divided into subjects.




Is it possible to know the swimming suitability of beaches?

Information on beach suitability is available on the web site of the Ministry of Health. The Ministry provides information collected from laboratories of sampling points decided by the Regions (Presidential Decree no. 470/82 and subsequent amendments).

Which Authority can I contact to control the quality of sea water, in areas which are considered to be highly polluted and dangerous for human health and the environment?

You must contact the environmental department of the Carabinieri and inform the City Council and the ARPA agency in charge of that section of the coast.

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What is the general procedure for clearing an area from asbestos?

If a user wishes to clear asbestos material on his own, technical information for its safe removal can be requested from the regional health centre (ASL) or environmental agency (ARPA). If, however, this involves the intervention of a private company that will remove the material, users must first verify whether the company has been authorized in accordance with Presidential Decree no. 8/8/94. The company will prepare a clearance plan that will be approved by the ASL (eventually in agreement with the ARPA as regards the analysis of material samples collected from the clearance site). The ASL will follow the works, certifying the environmental reclamation of the area. For further information on the duties of the regional ASL and ARPA consult the reclamation plan approved by the Region of reference.

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Who can I contact to have information on eventual electromagnetic pollution caused by aerials and repeaters installed near homes and residential areas?

Information on electromagnetic pollution caused by installed radio aerials and repeaters can be requested from Regional Agencies for Environmental Protection (ARPA) or, for autonomous Provinces, from Provincial Agencies for Environmental Protection (APPA). For further information kindly consult these agencies’ web sites which can be reached through the Agency System page. Installations of these plants are, however, authorized by the City Council after an evaluationof the electromagnetic impact on the surrounding area, carried out by ARPA/APPA agencies.

Which body is in charge of sanitary and environmental control and surveillance of the population’s exposure to electric, magnetic and electromagnetic fields?

In accordance with Article 14 of Law no. 36/2001 ("General law on protection against exposure to electric, magnetic and electromagnetic fields”) duties of sanitary and environmental surveillance and control are in charge of the City (and Provincial) Administrations which carry out the necessary verifications. The above Administrations make use of the technical support provided by Regional Agencies for Environmental Protection (ARPA) or, for autonomous Provinces, by Provincial Agencies for Environmental Protection (APPA).

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Is it possible to report abuses by neighbours who use central heating without respecting the time and consumption limits established by the law?

Centralized heating times are regulated by Presidential Decree no. 412 of 26 August, 1993 and by Presidential Decree no. 551 of 21 December, 1999. Controls on respecting the above regulations are carried out by City Councils having more than 40,000 inhabitants and by Provincial Councils for the remaining areas. This is part of a framework of activities that make the local body responsible for promoting the protection of consumers’ and users’ interests. These include providing information, awareness and assistance services to users. The above local bodies “(...) carry out the necessary controls every two months to verify the effective maintenance and functioning conditions of heating plants. This is done at the users’ expense and also making use of external bodies having specific technical experience." (Article 13 of Presidential Decree no. 551of 21/12/1999).

If a local body hands over the duty of controlling maintenance and functioning of heating plants to an external body, what are the requirements for carrying out this activity?

If controls as per paragraph 18 of Presidential Decree no. 551 of 21/12/1999 are entrusted to external bodies, City and Provincial Councils stipulate agreements with bodies which show they have a good technical and professional experience, a satisfying knowledge of regulations on controls that need to be carried out and the ability to prepare the necessary certificates, minutes and reports related to the controls they have carried out, (Attachment 1 of Presidential Decree no. 551 of 21/12/1999). In accordance with Article 3 of Law no. 10 of 9/1/1991 or upon specific request, the ENEA provides assistance and verifications of technical compliance of the above bodies to those who request for it.

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Who do I need to contact to request for radon gas measurements in domestic and employment environments?

You can contact the Regional Agencies for Environmental Protection (ARPA) or, for autonomous Provinces, the Provincial Agencies for Environmental Protection (APPA). Their contacts are available on the Agency System page. You can also contact “adequately equipped” private companies (paragraph 4, Article 10c) of Legislative Decree no. 241/2000).

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What activity classes need to be included in the application of waste disposal tariffs?

Activity classes are indicated in Presidential Decree no. 158/99 (tables 3a), 3b), 4a) and 4b).However, reference should in any case be made to regulations on tariff application and to the relative tariff decisions issued by the local City Council of reference.

Is it possible to discharge water generated by a domestic air conditioning plant in the sewage, even if it has a slightly higher temperature than the one that enters the plant?

Authorizations on discharges are regulated by Article 45 of Legislative Decree no.152/99 and subsequent amendments and additions. In particular, paragraph 4 says: "as an exception to paragraph 1 (which says that all discharges must be previously authorized), domestic water discharge flows channeled into sewage networks are always admitted in compliance with regulations fixed by the local Integrated Water Service management”.

Is it possible to have acces to data on the quantity of differentiated waste collected by Regions and metropolitan Cities of Italy?

All information on waste is contained in the publication entitled: "Rapporto rifiuti 2006" (Waste Report 2006) which is available on the following APAT web site: http://www.apat.gov.it/it-IT/APAT/Pubblicazioni/Rapporto_rifiuti/Documento/rapporto_rif_07.html

Is there any data on the quantity of batteries collected in terms of tons per year?

APAT’s report "Rapporto rifiuti 2006" divides data into groups. Therefore, data on batteries also includes accumulators. The publication is available on the following web site:: http://www.apat.gov.it/it-IT/APAT/Pubblicazioni/Rapporto_rifiuti/Documento/rapporto_rif_07.html. For further, more detailed information kindly contact the City Councils and/or the bodies in charge of battery collection directly.

Is there a list of all dumps existing in our territory? In particular, is there one for dumps receiving special dangerous waste?

APAT’s publication "Rapporto rifiuti 2006" indicates the total number (at national, regional and provincial level) of dumps that receive special waste.However, for privacy purposes, it does not indicate the company’s name. The report is available on the APAT web site at the following address: http://www.apat.gov.it/it-IT/APAT/Pubblicazioni/Rapporto_rifiuti/Documento/rapporto_rif_07.html. For more detailed information kindly contact Regions and Provinces directly, since they have the complete list of dumps existing in their territory.

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What are the main regulations on noise?

“The general law that regulates sound pollution is Law no. 447 of 26 October, 1995. Establish  the basic principles for the protection of the outdoor  environment and the living environment from noise pollution, in relation with and the effects of article  nr. 117 of the Italian Constitution, that defines the duties of public bodies in charge of regulating, planning and controlling activities (State, Regions, Provinces and City Councils). This Act was implemented with a series of decrees regulating in detail the issue of Acoustics in all its sectors. As far as European laws are concerned, reference can be made to:

1) Directive no. 2002/49/EC on the determination and management of environmental noise which contains provisions for agglomerated areas and transport infrastructures in the realization of Noise Maps and specific Action Plans;

2) Directive no. 2000/14/ec  (acknowledged in Italy with Legislative Decree no. 262 of 4 September, 2002) concerning noise emission of vehicles and machinery operating in the outdoor environment. Directive no. 2000/14 aims to protect both the health and welfare of people and the environment

Further information can be obtained from the European Commission web site.

Among its activities and services does ISPRA also measure sound pollution in private homes?

The ISPRA Agency does not carry out direct control activities at local level. This is done by Regional agencies for environmental protection (ARPA) or Provincial ones in case of autonomous Provinces (APPA). You therefore need to contact the ARPA/APPA agency of your Region. A list of these Agencies is available on the Agency System page".

In what ways does the law control and reduce sound pollution involving the various local institutional bodies?

City Councils must make a noise classification (i.e. zoning of the territory). Regions, in accordance with general Law no. 447/95, must issue specific regional laws which contain the modalities for fixing classes and the criteria for realizing an acoustic classification of cities as well as administrative aspects regarding the local management of sound pollution.

What does noise classification (or zoning) of the territory mean?

Noise classifications are plans prepared by the City Council that are used as a reference by the local territory. They divide the territory into acoustically homogeneous areas which have specific sound limits during periods of reference in the day and night. The planning activity aims, above all, at classifying the sound produced by human activities and, secondly, at regulating the exercise bringing sound emissions within the limits established by law (Table A of D.P.C.M. 14/11/1997).

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Environmental reports

Who can I contact to seek for more protection of natural and landscape environments and agrofood security?

You can contact the Provincial Forest Authority of the State.

Who can I contact to report an environmental crime?

You can contact the environmental department of the Carabinieri at the Ministry of Environment, Land and Sea Protection, through the toll free number: 800.253608.

Who can I contact to have information on the environmental impact of civil or industrial constructions or of other threats against the environment?

You can obtain this information by contacting the City Council and the ARPA or APPA (Regional or Provincial environmental agency) in the Region or Province (in case of autonomous provinces) depending on where the construction project is based.

Who can I contact to seek for more protection of public gardens and green areas in my city?

The Office of the City’s Councillor for the Environment can provide direct information or eventually indicate which company is in charge of managing the green areas on behalf of the City Council. .

How can a citizen protect himself if the collection of solid urban waste in his city is inefficient and constantly blocked due to the closing down of local collection points?

Article 59, paragraph 4 of Legislative Decree no. 507/1993, gives citizens the right to request for reimbursement of 60% of the rate paid for the disposal of solid urban waste if this is inefficient, due to the closing down of local collection points. If the reimbursement request is not accepted by the City Council, citizens can take the action they believe most adequate, contacting the ombudsman for example or seeking for legal assistance from a consumer association.

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Geological Survey of Italy - cartographic products

What are the modalities procedures and costs to buy the cartographic products  of the Geological Survey of Italy?

Publications for sale by the Department of Geological Survey are available on the following pages of the ISPRA website:

* Costs related to Memorie and Quaderni are indicated for each volume by accessing on the link above

The shipping costs are paid by the buyer.

“The payment will be made to: ISPRA – Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e la Ricerca Ambientale. At form receipt we will communicate any details, as indication of total amount on the basis of your request, to perform payment transactions.

To purchase our cartographic-publishing products please fill this application forms and send it to : protocollo.ispra@ispra.legalmail.it or   fax it 06/50072916 (ISPRA register office)”