EuroChem has initiated concrete actions to collect and treat phosphorus-containing surface waters from the areas close to the Phosphorit fertilizer plant in Kingisepp, Northwest Russia.
In January 2012, following media reports of high phosphorus concentrations in the Luga River, EuroChem launched its own investigations to identify the possible sources and pathways of phosphorus-containing waters within the Phosphorit territory and nearby areas.
According to EuroChem, the occasional increase of phosphorus concentrations is caused by rising levels of surface water during flood periods.
“We have stopped runoff of phosphorus-containing surface waters to the river by constructing a system of dams and storing surface water in natural reservoirs and ponds within close proximity to the factory area. At the same time, we have installed a pipeline and a pumping station as well as restored a waste water treatment facility to redirect surface water runoff and precipitate phosphorus. With these actions, we can guarantee that surface water flowing to the Luga River from areas adjacent to the factory undergoes treatment before reaching the river,” explained Vladimir Erlykov, Managing Director of Phosphorit.
According to four independent monitoring rounds carried out in the Luga River area,* there are no more increased phosphorus concentrations in the river, which demonstrates the effectiveness of the actions.
EuroChem and the John Nurminen Foundation have today signed a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly select and assign an independent European expert organization to assess the current phosphorus treatment system. The independent expert will also study sources and pathways of phosphorus from areas close to Phosphorit as well as monitor phosphorus concentrations in the Luga River. Both parties have been cooperating since January 2012 to reduce phosphorus discharge in Kingisepp.
Ville Niinistö, Finland’s Minister of the Environment, commented, “The progress achieved so far in addressing the phosphorus runoff is encouraging. I’m delighted to see that there is such a strong joint commitment to work towards the common goal of reducing the phosphorus load to the Baltic Sea permanently.”
Head of Communications
phone: +7 (495) 545-3969
Director, Clean Sea Projects
John Nurminen Foundation
phone: +358-41-549 1535
*The sampling carried out in late November 2011 within the framework of HELCOM’s BALTHAZAR project in the Luga River revealed a potentially significant source of phosphorus to the Baltic Sea.
On May 8, HELCOM published monitoring results from the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) and Russian authorities (Hydromet). The results confirm that phosphorus concentrations both in the river Luga and Verkhovsky brook discharging to Luga have decreased remarkably during spring 2012. According to monitoring results, the average phosphorus concentration in the Luga river is currently only 5-10% of the highest concentrations measured by SYKE in November 2011.