The River Vantaa Gypsum Project

The objective of the project is to treat 3,500 hectares of fields with gypsum in 2018–2020, and to expedite the take-up of gypsum treatment in the entire Baltic Sea catchment area.

3500 hectars of gypsum treated agricultural fields
3200 hectars of agricultural field treated with gypsum

In the gypsum treatment project in the catchment area of The River Vantaa in 2018–2020, gypsum will be spread across a total of 3,500 hectares of agricultural field. The operation will reduce load of nutrients and suspended solids into The River Vantaanjoki and The Gulf of Finland, thus improving the ecological status of water bodies and enhancing their recreational value. Previously, gypsum treatment of agricultural fields has been examined in several research projects and tested extensively in a pilot project in Lieto and Paimio implemented by the SAVE research project funded by a key project of The Ministry of the Environment, as well as The NutriTrade Project funded by The EU Interreg Central Baltic programme.

A pile of gypsum at a gypsum spreading event in Nurmijärvi 27.9.2019. Photo: Ilkka Vuorinen

The River Vantaanjoki gypsum treatment project is carried out by The John Nurminen Foundation, The Water Protection Association of the Vantaa River and Helsinki Region (VHVSY), The University of Helsinki, and The Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE). The project is funded by private donors, Euroclear and Yara, as well as The Ministry of the Environment as a part of the measures outlined in The Finnish River Basin Management and Marine Strategy Plans, as well as the “Breakthrough of Circular Economy and Clean Solutions” (”Kiertotalouden läpimurto ja puhtaat ratkaisut käyttöön”) key project. The objective is reducing phosphorus load from agricultural fields as well as water clarification through reduction of suspended solids runoff.

  • A project with high visibility implemented in a recreational area that is of great importance to numerous people living in the Capital Region—and, more specifically, a river that is home to the brown trout.
  • The objective is to spread gypsum on as much as 3,500 hectares of field in 2018 through 2020.
  • In the gypsum treatment, four metric tons of gypsum per hectare is spread on agricultural fields with the objective of soil amendment. Gypsum, i.e. Calcium Sulphate, is dissolved into the field soil, thus amending the crumb structure of the soil and helping soil particles bind up phosphorus. Erosion and leaching of phosphorus and total organic carbon are reduced, which makes run-off water clearer and prevents eutrophication of water bodies. Phosphorus will, however, remain in the soil in a form available for use by plants.
  • The reduction of phosphorus losses from agricultural fields is about ten metric tons in five years. Within the same time frame, suspended solids runoff is reduced by 5 million kilograms.
  • The project is coordinated by The John Nurminen Foundation, The Water Protection Association of the Vantaa River and Helsinki Region (VHVSY), The University of Helsinki and The Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE). The gypsum treatment is carried out by the local farmers.
  • The John Nurminen Foundation has raised 740,000 euros through private donors for the project, and The Ministry of the Environment has funded the project by 375,000 euros. Euroclear donated 25,000 euros to the project and Yara provided the gypsum used in the project free of charge. In addition, organizations participating in the project have contributed about 57,000 euros to the project.
  • Moreover, additional donations were being collected via the Nutribute crowdsourcing platform at

Further information:

John Nurminen Foundation
 Marjukka Porvari, Director of the Clean Baltic Sea projects
Tel.: +358 41 5491535,

Anna Saarentaus, Project manager
Tel.: +358 40 7190208,

The Water Protection Association of the Vantaa River and Helsinki Region (VHVSY)
Anu Oksanen, Executive Director
Tel.: +358 50 3726 018,

Pasi Valkama, Researcher
Tel.: +358 44 767 1394,

The University of Helsinki
Markku Ollikainen, Professor
Tel.: +358 2941 58065,

The Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE)
Petri Ekholm, Senior Research Scientist
Tel.: +358 295 251102,

The Ministry of the Environment

Laura Saijonmaa, Senior Ministerial Adviser
Tel.: +358 295250261,

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