Yara to donate gypsum to a Baltic Sea project led by the John Nurminen Foundation 

Yara and the John Nurminen Foundation have signed an agreement that will see Yara donate the gypsum required to treat 2,500 hectares of field for the John Nurminen Foundation’s Vantaanjoki gypsum project. The fields will be treated with gypsum primarily during 2019.

The gypsum project involves treating the fields in the Vantaanjoki river catchment area with gypsum, which reduces the nutrient and suspended solid loads making their way into Vantaanjoki river and the Gulf of Finland. Gypsum treatment will reduce the phosphorus load by around ten tons over five years and will reduce the suspended solid load by around five million kilograms. The gypsum project is being implemented by local farmers, the John Nurminen Foundation, the Water Protection Association of the River Vantaa and Helsinki Region, the University of Helsinki, and the Finnish Environment Institute.

“Gypsum treatment cuts phosphorus leakage quickly and cost-efficiently, and we want to use it to reduce eutrophication in the Vantaanjoki river and the Gulf of Finland. Yara’s donation will make it possible for even more farmers to access this first aid procedure. In fall 2018, the project saw an area of around one thousand hectares treated with gypsum, and this year we are aiming to make agreements with local farmers on treating an area of up to 2,500 hectares. As a result of the donation, Yara will become one of the John Nurminen Foundation’s primary partners in cooperation,” says Marjukka Porvari, manager of the Foundation’s Clean Baltic Sea projects.

A proven and efficient water protection method

Gypsum has been studied in Finland since 2007, both in laboratory conditions and in extensive catchment area tests, all with similar results: gypsum halves the discharge of phosphorus from field to waterway and its effect lasts for around five years. Gypsum also reduces organic carbon loads by 50 percent, which improves soil quality. Treating fields with gypsum would help to achieve a good coastal water state in the Bothnian Sea and Archipelago Sea catchment areas, and to improve the state of the Gulf of Finland. In addition, gypsum treatment would help Finland to achieve the nutrient reduction targets outlined in the Baltic Sea protection agreement.

“We at Yara are very impressed by the John Nurminen Foundation’s work and the results that it has achieved in improving the state of the Baltic Sea. We now wish to do our part to support this work by donating gypsum for the Vantaanjoki project,” says Timo Räsänen, Yara Suomi’s commercial director.

 Gypsum is suitable for field application

During gypsum treatment, four tons of soil-conditioning gypsum is applied to each hectare of field. The gypsum is absorbed into the soil, improves the structure of the soil, promotes the binding of phosphorus to soil particles, and reduces erosion. Phosphorus therefore remains in the field in a form that can be utilized by plants.

 Using gypsum is a circular economy

Gypsum is calcium sulfate and is produced as a byproduct when apatite in Siilinjärvi is processed into phosphoric acid. Gypsum contains 23% calcium, 18% sulfur and 0.2% phosphorus. Yara’s soil-conditioning gypsum is stored for at least two years, during which time excess soluble phosphorus is washed away from the gypsum. The gypsum is then crushed and screened before loading and transportation to the field.

For more information, please contact:

Marjukka Porvari, John Nurminen Foundation, Manager of Clean Baltic Sea projects, tel. +358 (0)41 549 1535
Timo Räsänen, Commercial Director, Yara Suomi Oy, tel. +358 (0)50 337 4514

Yara is a global supplier of mineral fertilizers, industrial chemicals and environmental protection agents. The company employs 15,000 people across 50 countries. Yara has over 100 years of experience in crop nutrition. Yara Finland’s production sites produce research-based mineral fertilizers tailored to Finland’s challenging growing conditions.  We directly employ 900 people in Finland, and our overall impact on employment is just over 4,000 people.

 The John Nurminen Foundation – saving the Baltic Sea and cultural work
Founded in 1992, the John Nurminen Foundation aims to save the Baltic Sea and its heritage for future generations. The Foundation is an award-winning information channel and producer of marine cultural content. The Foundation’s Clean Baltic Sea project improve the status of the Baltic Sea with concrete measures that reduce the load and environmental risks faced by the sea Work is guided by measurable results and impact.

 The Vantaanjoki gypsum project is being implemented by the John Nurminen Foundation, the Water Protection Association of the River Vantaa and Helsinki Region, the University of Helsinki, and the Finnish Environment Institute. The project is funded by the Foundation’s private supporters and the Ministry of the Environment as part of the procedures outlined in the program of measures for the protection of Finland’s waters and marine environment and the government’s “Breakthrough to a circular economy and adoption of clean solutions” key project.