HELCOM to delete several Lithuanian sewage treatment plants from the list of Baltic’s major polluters
Helsinki, 17 May (HELCOM Information Service) – The HELCOM Land-based Pollution Group (HELCOM LAND) will convene in Dessau, Germany, on 18-20 May for its 16th regular Meeting to discuss further actions to combat eutrophication and reduce pollution by hazardous substances in the Baltic Sea.
The implementation of the overarching HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan to cease excessive pollution inputs to the sea and restore its good ecological status by 2021 will top the agenda of the Meeting. “A key part of the Agenda of the HELCOM LAND Meeting in Dessau will be discussions on how to facilitate and make more effective actions to limit emissions and discharges of nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen), as well as hazardous substances from land-based sources within the provisions of the Baltic Sea Action Plan,” says Anne Christine Brusendorff, HELCOM’s Executive Secretary. “The Baltic Sea coastal countries are expected to report on the implementation of a HELCOM Recommendation (set of requirements) concerning wastewater discharges from agglomeration communities of more than 200,000 inhabitants.”
HELCOM requirements particularly for phosphorus discharge from wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are two times stricter than similar provisions of the EU Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive. To resolve existing difficulties related to the implementation of the requirements included in the HELCOM Recommendation 28E/5, the 2010 Moscow Ministerial Meeting agreed to promote the best national examples through the establishment of the List of Green Baltic Spots in contrary to the famous Baltic Sea “hot spots” representing major pollution sources in the area. The HELCOM Member States are expected to nominate candidates to the “Green List”.
The development of the concept of the Green Baltic Spots was carried out in close cooperation with the Project on Urban Reduction of Eutrophication (PURE), part-financed by the European Union Baltic Sea Region Programme 2007-2013 (European Regional Development Fund and European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument). The project has developed an online database of municipal wastewater treatment plants that could support nomination of specific sites to the Green List, exchange relevant information on performance of the WWTPs and provide a benchmarking tool for improvement of waste water treatment.
The continuing recovery of major pollution hot spots in the Baltic Sea coastal countries will be also an important issue on the Agenda. The Meeting will review progress in the reduction of pollution from several municipal and industrial hot spots in Lithuania, and consider the possibility of their deletion from the Baltic Sea's major polluters list. They include wastewater treatment plants in Kaunas, Kedainiai, Palanga, and also the former Mazeikiai oil refinery - Orlen Lietuva. Experts are to check their compliance with relevant HELCOM Recommendations following remedial actions.
The Hot Spots List of the most significant point sources of pollution around the Baltic Sea was first drawn up under the HELCOM Baltic Sea Joint Comprehensive Environmental Action Programme (JCP) in 1992. The hot spots were designated by an international group of scientists, engineers, environmental managers, financers and government representatives, according to practical economic considerations as well as the seriousness of their impact on the environment and human health. Currently, a total of 72 hot spots and sub-hot spots remain on the list of the Baltic Sea's most significant pollution sources, following the deletion of 90 of the earlier identified 162 hot spots/sub-hot spots. Assessment of the JCP progress will be also discussed at the Meeting.
Additionally, the Meeting is expected to consider a draft HELCOM Recommendation on introduction of the Whole Effluent Assessment approach for identification of sources of hazardous substances, and review the progress of several projects dealing with inputs of nutrients and hazardous substances. Among them are two projects contributing to the Baltic Sea Action Plan: on the assessment of inputs of nutrients from agriculture in Russia's Kaliningrad and Leningrad Oblast' (BALTHAZAR), and on the identification of sources of selected hazardous substances and development of cost efficient options for reducing their inputs into the Baltic ("Control of Hazardous substances in the Baltic Sea Region - COHIBA"), both launched in 2009 with financial support of the European Union.
The Meeting will be conducted by Mr. Leonid Korovin, Chairman of HELCOM LAND.
Note to Editors:
The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, usually referred to as the Helsinki Commission, or HELCOM, is an intergovernmental organisation of all the nine Baltic Sea countries and the EU which works to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution.
HELCOM is the governing body of the "Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area," known as the Helsinki Convention.
For more information, please contact:
Mr. Mikhail Durkin
Tel: +358 (0)46 850 9194
Fax: +358 (0)207 412 645
Mr. Nikolay Vlasov
Tel: +358 (0)46 850 9196
Fax: +358 (0)207 412 645