PRESTO Technology Forum delves into improved nutrient removal methods and implementation at municipal wastewater treatment plants

Significant improvement in the state of the Baltic Sea to be achieved by efficient nutrient removal

Today in St. Petersburg, a number of wastewater treatment professionals convene for a two-day Technology Forum on information exchange on the latest developments in modern nutrient removal. The Forum is hosted by the water utility of St. Petersburg, which during the last years has made robust investments in technology modernization, thereby reaching European standards especially in nutrient removal and sludge treatment. The achievements in St Petersburg are an excellent example of concrete actions to improve the state of the Baltic Sea and of successfully upgrading Soviet technology.

The Technology Forum is part of PRESTO project (Project on Reduction of Eutrophication of the Sea Today). During the Forum, participants will share their experiences with modernization of wastewater treatment technology, especially in nutrient removal. There will be an opportunity to visit the Central wastewater treatment plant of St. Petersburg. In addition, technical solutions for modernization of wastewater treatment plants and nutrient removal will be presented, case studies discussed, and means for sharing experiences in the future will be explored.
The goal of the Forum is also to identify solutions to problems of selected water utilities. Within the PRESTO project, four Belarusian cities, Baranovichi, Grodno, Molodechno, and Vitebsk will invest in enhanced nutrient removal at their wastewater treatment plants. As a result, the annual phosphorus load reduction can amount up to 500 tonnes by 2014. The John Nurminen Foundation leads this part of the project.

Igor Iuzviak, Head Engineer, and Irina Zenkevich, Chief Technician from Grodno wastewater treatment plant, say, “We are looking forward to visiting the Central wastewater treatment plant of Saint Petersburg. We also look forward to interesting discussions and sharing our experiences with professionals from different countries in the Baltic Sea Region. We are convinced that by participating in the PRESTO project we will be able to improve the efficiency of our own plant.”

The training module of the PRESTO project is led by Berlin Technical University. A primary target of this module is to increase the knowhow of Belarusian wastewater professionals in the field of enhanced nutrient removal and provide them training on environmental effects of nutrients.

Matthias Barjenbruch, Professor at the Berlin Technical University, says, “I hope for active and fruitful discussions with representatives from the wastewater treatment plants and academic community. I am very excited about this opportunity to exchange experiences with our colleagues from different countries.”

In addition to the water companies that will invest in new technology, the water utilities of Brest, Lida, Polotsk and Slonim as well as the universities of Minsk, Brets and Polotsky will participate in the training part of the program. The water utilities of Daugavpils (Latvia) and Kaunas (Lithuania) participate in PRESTO by sharing their experiences in wastewater treatment plant modernization.
The event is organized by the UBC (Union of the Baltic Cities) Commission on Environment that is also responsible for overall coordination of the PRESTO project. “We aim to leave the participants with a good grasp of nutrient removal technologies and applications – and also give them tools to take these learnings into use in their own work, says PRESTO project coordinator Pekka Salminen.

PRESTO was approved by the EU Baltic Sea Region Programme Monitoring Committee in June 2011. The total project budget is 4.55 million Euros, of which two million Euros will be used for direct investments in enhanced nutrient removal at the wastewater treatment plants. A major share of the project is financed by the EU: it covers 75-90 % of the project expenditure of the partners depending on the country of origin of the partner organization. Additionally, the Finnish Ministry of Environment supports the Finnish project partners John Nurminen Foundation and Union of the Baltic Cities (UBC) with altogether 185,000 Euros, which covers most of the self-financing costs of these two partners.

For full project description, please see http://www.prestobalticsea.eu/

Note to the editors

Part of Belarus is located in the catchment area of the Baltic Sea. Nutrient loads from this part of the country end up in the Baltic Sea via three routes: The River Vistula, which runs through Poland, The River Neman, which runs through Lithuania and forms the border between Latvia and Kalingrad Region, and the River Daugava, which runs through Latvia. The wastewater treatment infrastructure of the country was built in the Soviet era, and in its current state, nutrients are not removed efficiently. The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission HELCOM has estimated that if nutrient removal efficiency will be improved in Belarus, it could be possible to reduce the amounts of phosphorus entering the Baltic Sea by over 1,000 tonnes.

The John Nurminen Foundation’s Clean Baltic Sea projects improve the state of the Baltic Sea. Symptoms of eutrophication are many, for example, the blue-green algal blooms that occur every summer. The most efficient way to reduce eutrophication is to cut the phosphorus load entering the Sea. The target of the Foundation’s Clean Sea projects is to achieve an annual reduction of 2,500 tonnes of phosphorus discharges by 2015, which is one sixth of the total target set by HELCOM. The Foundation’s Tanker Safety project aims to reduce the risk of an oil disaster by introducing a new navigation service ENSI® (Enhanced Navigation Support Information) to tankers in the Gulf of Finland. The Foundation’s Clean Baltic Sea operations are funded through private donations and public funding.


Union of the Baltic Cities (UBC), Commission on Environment (EnvCom), is responsible for the Union’s work on environmental and urban sustainability co-operation. PRESTO project aims at direct improvement of the state of the Baltic Sea. Other projects lead by EnvCom concentrate e.g. on air emissions of shipping, Climate Change and sustainable urban mobility.

More information:

Marjukka Porvari
Director, Clean Sea Projects
John Nurminen Foundation
Phone: +358 41 549 1535
e-mail: firstname.lastname@jnfoundation.fi

Pekka Salminen
Project coordinator
Union of the Baltic Cities Commission on Environment Secretariat
Phone: +358 44 9075999
e-mail: firstname.lastname@ubc.net


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