The Lebanese Constitution represents the strongest legislative text in Lebanon and when in contradiction with the Constitution, a proposed legislation(s) cannot be issued. International treaties/agreements ratified by Lebanon have the second priority in the Lebanese legislative framework. Table 2 -11 describes the legal structure in Lebanon
Table 2 11 Legal Pyramid
Type of legislation
Laws are passed by the Lebanese Parliament. The Council of Ministers or deputies propose a project of law that is discussed by the appropriate parliamentary committees prior to being promulgated in a plenary parliamentary session. Environmental legislations are generally reviewed and assessed by the Parliamentary committees dealing with Agriculture, Tourism, Environment, and Municipalities as well as Public Works, Transportation, Electric and Hydraulic Resources and Planning and Development.
In exceptional cases (like absence of the Parliament or non respect of constitutional delays), the President of the Republic can pass these decree laws which have the same legal standing and powers as laws.
The Council of Ministers issues decrees that are usually proposed by a certain ministry. The Council of State is consulted before the issuance of a decree to ensure that the latter does not contravene existing laws..
Ministers issue resolutions without the pre-approval of the Council of Ministers but after consulting the Council of State to ensure the integrity with existing laws.
. To date, the current Lebanese environmental regulations are generally scarce with some dating back several decades. Table 2 -12 presents an overview of the main environmental legislations found in Lebanon dealing with the management of water resources, solid waste and wastewater as well as air quality and pollution control; these legislations are listed in reverse chronological order.
Table 2 12 Summary of Legislations
Law / Decree
Review of “Initial Environmental Examination" report
Review of Scoping report and Environmental Impact Assessment report
Environment Protection Law
Accession to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.
Sets procedures and guidelines for the establishment and operation of industrial institutions/facilities. It provides for example the distance requirements from water resources which vary according to industry classification (Class I, II, III, VI, and V).
Environmental Guidelines for the Establishment and/or Operation of Stations Distributing Liquid Petroleum Products.
Reducing air pollution resulting from the transportation sector and encouraging the use of a ‘greener’ less polluting fuel.
Changed the Ministry of Hydraulic and Electric Resources (MHER) into the Ministry of Energy and Water (MoEW) and named the regional water authorities as Water and Wastewater Establishments located in Beirut, Bekaa, North Lebanon and South Lebanon.
Draft EIA Decree
This Draft EIA decree is under the Framework of Environmental Law. It stipulates the EIA procedures and regulations related to all development projects that have a potential impact on the environment.
Reducing the number of Water Establishments to 4.
This Law organizes the Water Sector by regrouping 22 Water Offices and 216 Committees in 5 regional Water Authorities. Article 1 of this Law states that the protection and development of water as a natural resource, within the framework of environmental and ecosystem protection, is a crucial public service.
Specifying the National Standards for Environmental Quality and the Environmental Limit Values for Air and Water.
Amendment of decision 22/1
Enforcement of Environmental Standards for Industries.
Accession to the Basel Convention concerning the control of the trans-boundary movement of hazardous waste and their disposal.
Expropriation law which was modified later on by the Law enacted on 12/08/2006
Protection against hazardous wastes that could harm air, water, biodiversity, soil, and people.
Methodology for bacteriological analysis of water.
Protection against oil spill discharge from ships into the sea.
Guidelines related to Wastewater Management and Disposal
Decree law 16 L
It mandates the establishment of buffer zones for the protection of all surface and groundwater resources from any type of activity/potential source of pollution. Requirements for buffering are found in Decision 320/26.
EIA Draft Decree and Project Relevance to Environmental Protection Law
The Project is governed by Lebanon’s main Environmental Framework Law (Law 444/2002 on Environmental Protection). The Project aims at supplying Greater Beirut with 250m3/d of water in order to compensate the existing deficit and secure sustainable source of water for at least the five coming years. Law 444 lists the different environmental receptors and resources as follows:
Physical Environment (Ambient Air Quality & Noise);
Marine Biodiversity (fauna & flora); and
Public Community (Project affected communities)
A draft EIA decree was issued in 2000 which abides by specifications and standard criteria for environmental standards and requirements and sets principles and measures necessary to assess the environmental impact of development projects (refer to Environmental Protection Law No. 444/ 2002). The draft EIA decree comprises sixty-eight articles that address the objectives of the regulation, definitions, as well as various stages of the national EIA l process such as screening, scoping, implementation, and review of the EIA report, in addition to the period of validity, and the appeal process. The EIA draft decree also lists all the activities for which EIA or permit conditions are mandatory, and those that require an Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) (refer to Appendices 1, 2 and 3 of draft EIA decree). Being of water nature, related to supply of potable water through construction of tunnels, a treatment plant and water reservoirs, the project hence requires an EIA study.
The EIA process is illustrated in a schematic diagram in Appendix 9 of the Draft EIA Decree.
Relevant National Environmental Standards
There are two main legislative texts that set the environmental standards for Lebanon as shown in Table 2 -13 below.
Table 2 13 Main environmental standards in Lebanon
Ministerial Decision No. 8/1, MoE
Updates/replaces Decision 52/1 by developing National Standards for Environmental Quality (NSEQ) related to air pollutants and liquid waste emitted from classified establishment and wastewater treatment plants
Ministerial Decision No. 52/1, MoE
Environmental Quality Standards & Criteria for Air, Water and Soil
These decisions have assigned the particulate inorganic pollutants, gaseous inorganic pollutants and cancer causing pollutants into groups; as presented in Table 2 -14 below.
Table 2 14 Pollutants Classification
Particulate Inorganic Pollutants
Cd, Hg, TI
As, Co, Ni, Se, Te
Sb, Pb, Cr, CN, F, Cu, Mn, Pt, Pd, Rh, V, Sn
Gaseous Inorganic Pollutants
AsH3, ClCN, COCl2, HP
HBr, Cl2, HCN, HF, H2S
HCl not mentioned at Group I
Cancer causing pollutants
Asbestos, Benzo(a)pyren, Beryllium and its breathable compounds calculated as Be, Dibenz(a,h) anthracen, 2-Napthylamin
Arsenic Oxides, several Chrome (VI) and Chrome (III). Combinations calculated as Cr, Cobalt, Nickel and its breathable compounds calculated as Co/ Ni, 3,3’-Dichlorbenzeden, Dimethylsulphate Ethylenimin
Table 2 -17 and Table 2 -18 present respectively the noise levels and the occupational Noise Exposure standards allowed for and set in Decision 52/1.
Table 2 17 Maximum Allowable Noise Levels
Limit for Noise Level dB(A)
(7 a.m.- 6 p.m.)
Evening time (6 p.m.- 10 p.m.)
(10 p.m.- 7a.m.)
Residential areas having some construction sites or commercial activities or that are located near a road
Urban residential areas
Rural residential areas
35 – 45
30 – 40
25 – 35
Table 2 18 Permissible Noise Exposure Standards
Duration per day (hrs)
Sound level dB(A)
Expropriation Law and Procedures
The Lebanese constitution guards and protects the right of private property including landed property and the rights attaching to it. The law stipulates that no citizen can be deprived of the enjoyment and use of private property except when the property is being expropriated by a Ministerial decree.
The exercise of eminent domain for expropriating private property for public interest is governed by Law No. 58 dated 29/05/1991 which was modified by the Law enacted on 12/08/2006
This law is extensive and governs many cases. The state may only expropriate these rights when the purpose for which expropriation is taking place is legally deemed to be in the public interest; furthermore this must be made against payment of a prior and equitable compensation (indemnité equitable). All compensation is by monetary award through independent judicial assessment. Where there is an appeal, at least half the compensation is paid in advance, but the process of expropriation cannot be halted unless the validity of the public interest decree itself is challenged.
The procedure for expropriation is described in the sections which follow, and illustrated diagrammatically in Figure 2 -1
In the case of Awali-Beirut Water Conveyor Project, expropriation follows normal Lebanese practice. Under the provision for expropriation of land in the public interest, The Council for Development and Reconstruction prepares a draft expropriation decree or alignment decree for signature – after the approval of the Council of Ministers - by the Minister of Transportation, the Prime Minister and the President. Annexed to the decree are the following documents:
A sketch of the entire proposed project A detailed plan of the land that will be expropriated
A list showing the registration number of each property, its location, the property limits and the names of all the owners and right holders according to the Land Registry.
A detailed list of the content of the land to be expropriated including plans of buildings constructed before the date of publication of the decree in the Official Gazette.
After publication of the decree, these documents are available for consultation by the interested parties who can even obtain copies of them by the concerned Governmental bodies.
With the publication of a decree, the affected properties are under servitude. They may be bought and sold, and buildings may be maintained, but no improvements may be made until the expropriation process has been completed. Properties are not held to have been expropriated until the decision of the expropriation commission is handed down, which decision is communicated to the Lands registry and entered on the property titles and the cadastral map.
On the basis of a plan, an expropriation decree may cover any portion of land or a building. It is up to the owner to request that the full property (land or building) be expropriated, on the grounds that the non-expropriated remainder of the land would have lost its value. This may be done, for example, when the expropriation of part of a building renders the remainder unusable; or when the expropriation of a lot leaves a remainder too small to qualify for a building permit, and the owner does not have an adjacent plot to which it can be joined.