Environment protection

Protection of the environment and the Baltic Sea, rational use of natural resources and responsibility for the results of the company’s activities before future generations have been stated among the key priorities of SUE “Vodokanal of St. Petersburg” and comprise one of the strategic targets of the company.

Vodokanal’s environmental concept is based on understanding of its role to ensure a positive environmental situation in the whole Baltic Sea Region. A key international line of leader’s activity provides for participation in public and intergovernmental structures of the countries of the Baltic Region, particularly, in terms of the International Convention of the Helsinki Commission – Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (HELCOM).

Taking into account the company’s responsibility for the sustainable development of the city and the Baltic Sea Region and considering the approaches applied in the environmental management and the experience of similar European companies, the company implemented and certified the environmental management system in accordance with ISO14001.

Vodokanal carries out a successive implementation of the environmental management system as an essential part of the company management by way of studying current and future needs of all stakeholders, developing water consumption culture and contributing to preservation of the Baltic Sea basin.

Vodokanal strategic targets in terms of the environment protection are as follows:

  • Improvement of the ecological state of water bodies and the environment (decrease of the environmental load on the water bodies of St. Petersburg, the Gulf of Finland and the Baltic Sea; reduction of landfill areas used  for wastewater sludge storage, closure of untreated wastewater and flush water discharges).
  • Increase of energy efficiency of water supply and wastewater disposal facilities, implementation of resources and energy saving policy (plants renovation, implementation of the energy consumption regimes management, implementation and certification of the power management system in compliance with ISO 50001).
  • Development of the water consumption culture and environmental consciousness.

Our target in terms of the environment protection is to apply the best practices and technologies, create conditions for sustainable development not only of our city but the whole Baltic Sea Region.

Vodokanal carried out extensively the following activities:

  1. As a result of the completion of the Northern Tunnel Collector construction and closure of the untreated wastewater discharges along Petrogradskaya Embankment, along Fontanka Embankment and from Petrovskiy Stadium, 98,5% of wastewater is currently treated in St. Petersburg.
  2. Vodokanal complies with HELCOM requirements to phosphorus content in the discharged effluent: under 0.5 mg/l, even with regard to the wastewater discharged directly into water bodies. Such a figure could be achieved by reaching a level of 0.3-0.4 mg/l phosphorus in effluent at the main wastewater treatment plants.
  3. Another achievement was the implementation of wastewater sludge utilization technology. St. Petersburg became the first megalopolis in the world to solve the problem of wastewater sludge utilization. Now, three sludge incineration plants are in operation in the city. One of them, located at the South-West Wastewater Treatment Plant, is equipped with the flue gas biomonitoring system, which uses snails.
  4. To alleviate the negative environmental impact of sludge landfills, since 2010, we have been implementing the first phase of sludge landfills reclamation at Severny Landfill near the village of Novoselki.  The methods of chemical treatment and stationary dewatering of wastewater sludge in geo-tubes has been used for decreasing the hazard class and sludge volume, and removal of odor. Reduction of pollutants emission is achieved by decreasing the area of sludge landfills.

A great success was achieved in lessening water consumption through educational and awareness-building activities undertaken by Vodokanal.

St. Petersburg has done a lot to improve its image. The history of the city’s success proves that political will and motivation are very important when environmental law requirements are not enough, and more strict measures should be taken. In terms of harmful discharge reduction, St. Petersburg reached higher results than stipulated by the Russian and EC norms”, - states Anne Christine Brusendorff, the HELCOM Executive Secretary.