Joint project of the John Nurminen Foundation and the Vyborg Water Utility reduces the nutrient load of the Gulf of Finland

With the inauguration of the chemical phosphorus removal equipment delivered to the Vyborg water utility by the John Nurminen Foundation in the autumn of 2016, the wastewaters of the city of Vyborg will from now on be treated efficiently.
The plant will now deploy advanced nutrient removal, after which the phosphorus concentrations in wastewaters leaving the water utility are reduced to the level recommended by the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission HELCOM (0.5 mg of phosphorus per leaving litre of wastewater).

Vyborg has approximately 80,000 inhabitants. The city’s wastewaters end up directly in the Finnish coastal areas via the Bay of Vyborg. Advanced nutrient removal will reduce the annual phosphorus load of the Gulf of Finland, which ends in the Bay of Vyborg, by approximately 20 tonnes. This is almost as much as the annual discharges from the wastewater treatment plant in Viikinmäki, Helsinki.

The delivery, installation and construction works of the plant’s phosphorus removal system were completed in July-October 2016. In this joint project of the Vyborg Water Utility and the John Nurminen Foundation, the Foundation has been responsible for procuring the phosphorus removal equipment, while the water utility has taken care of the costs of installation and construction. The second phase of the project, implemented in 2017, will introduce advanced biological treatment, which supports phosphorus removal and improves the removal of nitrogen. The total cost of the Foundation’s subproject is approximately €140,000.

Phosphorus load of the Gulf of Finland significantly reduced

In Gatchina, northwestern Russia, a project that is a carbon copy of the one in Vyborg has resulted in wastewaters being treated in line with HELCOM recommendations already since November last year, when chemical phosphorus removal was deployed.  Through the Gatchina project, the annual phosphorus load entering the Gulf of Finland was reduced by 25 to 30 tonnes. In Gatchina, too, the project will continue with the launch of biological nutrient removal.

‘The wastewater discharges from Vyborg end up directly in the eastern marine area of Finland, which means that the cleaner waters there will also benefit us Finns. The proper treatment of the city’s wastewaters is the most efficient way to reduce also the nutrient load that ends up in the Bay of Vyborg, and, consequently, the algae blooms in the waterways near Vyborg. After the major project implemented in St. Petersburg, the Foundation has continued its systematic work of reducing the wastewater load entering the Gulf of Finland from the cities of northwestern Russia. The order of implemented projects was defined by their size. After Vyborg and Gatchina, the next project target will be the city of Kingisepp, close to the border of Estonia’, says Marjukka Porvari, director of the Foundation’s Clean Baltic Sea projects.

In recent years, we have succeeded in reducing the phosphorus load of the Gulf of Finland significantly. ‘Improving the efficiency of wastewater treatment in St. Petersburg and directing the phosphorus leaks from the Phosphorit fertilizer factory to treatment facilities reduced the annual phosphorus load that causes eutrophication in the Gulf of Finland by 75%’, says Seppo Knuuttila, Senior Research Scientist at the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE).

Joint project launched in 2010

In June 2010, a memorandum of understanding was signed with the Vyborg Water Utility on improving the efficiency of phosphorus removal, and agreeing on the implementation of phosphorus removal tests at the treatment plant. In the winter of 2010 – 2011, the tests were implemented with equipment delivered by the Foundation and financing from the Finnish Ministry of the Environment. Based on test results, a technical process plan was drawn up in 2011, together with tendering documentation for improving the efficiency of phosphorus removal at the Vyborg plant.

An investment agreement with the Vyborg Water Utility was signed in spring 2012. The implementation of the agreement has, however, been delayed due to the constant changes in management at the Vyborg Water Utility, and a breakage in the treatment plant’s main sewer pipe. In July 2014, Vyborg celebrated the completion of a new header pipe. The Foundation’s project could now move ahead in cooperation with the plant’s new management, but delays in tax and customs exemption decisions meant that equipment deliveries could not begin before 2016.

In addition to the project in Vyborg, the Foundation has three ongoing projects in Russia: projects for the treatment of municipal wastewaters in Gatchina and Kingisepp, and the Udarnik poultry farm project in the village of Pobeda.

More information:
Marjukka Porvari, Director, Clean Baltic Sea Projects
Tel:  +358 41 549 1535

Tuula Putkinen, Communications Director
Tel: + 358 400 907 809

email: firstname.lastname@jnfoundation.fi

The John Nurminen Foundation, established in 1992, works for the Baltic Sea and its marine cultural heritage in way that makes an impact and brings results. The Foundation’s Clean Baltic Sea projects improve the status of the Baltic Sea with concrete measures that reduce the nutrient load and environmental risks faced by the sea. In 2005 – 2015, the John Nurminen Foundation has launched approximately 20 Clean Baltic Sea projects in northwestern Russia, Poland, the Baltic countries, and Belarus. 14 of the projects have been finalised, and as a result, the annual phosphorus load of the sea has been reduced by more than 2,000 tonnes. We continue to curb the nutrient load of the sea through the projects launched in 2015: Archipelago Sea Local Fishing, NutriTrade, and BEST. The Clean Baltic Sea projects are financed with private donations and public funding.



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