Vodokanal told about the Baltic Sea protection in HELCOM Conference

11.03.2016

On 9 March, Vodokanal specialists participated in the Marine Litter Stakeholder Conference of HELCOM (Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission - Helsinki Commission). The conference was held in the capital of Finland - Helsinki within the framework of the annual meeting of the Helsinki Commission (HELCOM 37-2016).

Deputy Director for Development of SUE “Vodokanal of St. Petersburg” Olga Rublevskaya reported about the company’s activities to protect the clean Baltic Sea. Understanding all responsibility for the environmental condition of the region, Vodokanal pays great attention to the quality of wastewater treatment at its all WWTPs. In particular, huge work has been done to reduce the content of nutrients - nitrogen and phosphorus in the effluent. Today, St.Petersburg fully complies with the recommendations of the Helsinki Commission for the Baltic Sea protection: phosphorus content in total city wastewater discharge does not exceed 0.5 mg/l, nitrogen content - 10 mg/l.

“Having learned to handle nutrients, we still have to solve the issue of tertiary treatment to remove microplastics” – emphasized Olga Rublevskaya. Microplastics and their impact on the marine environment is a new concern all over the world, since this “litter” is not biodegradable and eventually accumulates in the environment. SUE “Vodokanal of St. Petersburg” made researches to identify microplastics contamination in wastewater before and after treatment. As a result, it was determined that microplastics (textile and synthetic fibers and particles) removal level is quite high - more than 95%, but this is not enough. Therefore, together with HELCOM Vodokanal continues studying this problem and searching for optimal solutions. In particular, Vodokanal investment programme envisages implementation of tertiary treatment system to enhance efficiency of microplastics removal.

Marine litter is one of the most serious threats to the Baltic Sea. The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission is actively involved into solution of this issue developing variety of regional actions to reduce amount of litter coming into the sea. HELCOM Conference joins efforts of different stakeholders for the Baltic Sea protection and draws attention to the stated problems. Expert discussion of marine litter issues and exchange of opinions on possible actions and initiatives took place in the Conference.

The event was attended by representatives from the coastal states governments, heads of administrations and municipalities, representatives of industries, environmental and social organizations as well as scientific community from various countries.

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