John Nurminen Foundation, Finnish Ministry of the Environment and Kemira Oyj launch cooperation project to reduce Vyborg’s phosphorus discharges

Together with Vyborg Water Utility the John Nurminen Foundation, the Finnish Ministry of the Environment, and Kemira Oyj have launched a project to reduce the amount of phosphorus discharged from Vyborg into the Baltic Sea. The Vyborg wastewater treatment plant will commence trial runs of waste water phosphorus removal this week.

The aim of the trial runs is to prove that, by using chemical precipitation for phosphorus removal, the Vyborg wastewater treatment plant can achieve the recommended concentration of total phosphorus in wastewater*, as specified by the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission. This will result in an annual reduction of approximately 20 tonnes in the amount of phosphorus ending up in the Gulf of Finland.

The John Nurminen Foundation has supplied the Vyborg wastewater treatment plant with storage and precipitant dosing equipment. Meanwhile, the Finnish Ministry of the Environment is supporting the technical implementation of the trial run, conducted by Kemira in cooperation with Vyborg Water Utility. Kemira has provided the expertise for the project. From its St. Petersburg plant, it will also supply the chemical precipitants required for the trial runs. The tests now being launched at the plant will continue for six months. Project costs total around EUR 200,000, of which the lion’s share, some EUR 130,000, is being provided by the John Nurminen Foundation. The Ministry of the Environment is contributing EUR 64,000.

No enhanced phosphorus removal processes are in place at the Vyborg wastewater treatment plant. Both the city and the water utility management want to improve this situation. Among their many reasons for doing so is the attention being paid to the issue by local environmental authorities.

At an event arranged to celebrate the launch of the trial runs, Mr Igor Viktorovits Smirnov, Chief Executive Officer of Vyborg Water Utility, said that the City of Vyborg and the water utility are fully committed to upgrading the wastewater treatment plant. “Through the removal of phosphorus we can not only improve the quality of the water close to Vyborg and in Vyborg Bay, but we can also reduce the amount of algae, including poisonous blue-green algae. The expertise and involvement of the John Nurminen Foundation has significantly advanced the start of the project.”

Based on the results of the trial run, Vyborg Water Utility and the John Nurminen Foundation intend to construct a permanent phosphorus removal system at the wastewater treatment plant by 2012. This would facilitate a permanent reduction in eutrophic discharges from Vyborg into the eastern Gulf of Finland. It would also improve the water quality of Vyborg Bay, which currently suffers from excessive eutrophication.

‘The cut in phosphorus discharges from Vyborg would be equivalent to an entire year’s phosphorus load from the Viikinmäki treatment plant in Helsinki. These discharges directly affect Finland’s eutrophic eastern sea areas. Since the project will have impacts on the environment, it is important to us in Finland, too,’ says Ms Marjukka Porvari, in charge of the project at the John Nurminen Foundation.

‘The concept underlying the Vyborg wastewater treatment plant could be implemented in almost all water treatment plants in Russia. No major investments are required. Moreover, Kemira’s solution obtains fast results. Another of the method’s advantages is that it enables water treatment plants to free up aeration capacity for the processes needed in enhanced nitrogen reduction’, explains Tuomo Keskinen of Kemira Oyj.

Together with international and Finnish financiers, Finnish enterprises and stakeholders from Russia, the Ministry of the Environment has been supporting wastewater treatment projects in St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Oblast since 1991. Since then, St. Petersburg’s phosphorus load has been reduced by around two-thirds. According to experts, this is already having a positive impact on the state of the Gulf of Finland.

‘Cooperation has proven that phosphorus removal by chemical precipitation from wastewater is a cost-efficient method of reducing the phosphorus load. It is essential that this long-planned cooperation can now also begin in Vyborg. This would be part of the more extensive Northern Dimension water-sector development project underway in the Leningrad Oblast’, comments Ms Kristiina Isokallio, Counsellor, Ministry of the Environment.

*In treatment plant effluent, the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (HELCOM) recommends a total phosphorus concentration of no more than 0.5 mg/l. http://www.helcom.fi/Recommendations/en_GB/rec28E_5/

More information:
John Nurminen Foundation
Marjukka Porvari, Director, Eutrophication
John Nurminen Foundation
Tel. +358 41 549 1535
Kemira Oyj
Tuomo Keskinen, Director, Russia
Municipal & Industrial and Paper
Phone 050 3871661
Ministry of the Environment
Kristiina Isokallio, Counsellor
Tel. +358 50 581 9618

The John Nurminen Foundation’s Clean Baltic Sea projects improve the state of the Baltic Sea. By 2015, these eutrophication projects aim to achieve a reduction in discharges of 2,500 tonnes of phosphorus per year. This goal accounts for one-sixth of Helcom’s overall objective of reducing the amount of phosphorus annually discharged into the Baltic Sea. The Tanker Safety project aims to reduce the risk of oil disasters by introducing the new proactive ENSI (Enhanced Navigation Support Information) navigation service to all tankers in the Gulf of Finland. The foundation’s operations are fully funded through donations.

Kemira is a global two billion euro chemicals company that is focused on serving customers in water-intensive industries. The company offers water quality and quantity management that improves customers’ energy, water, and raw material efficiency. Kemira’s vision is to be a leading water chemistry company.