Waste deposit in Kingisepp. Photo: Seppo Knuuttila

Today, representatives of EuroChem, the owner of the ‘Phosphorite’ fertiliser plant, will meet authorities and experts at the plant in Kingisepp. The aim is to continue the fact finding mission within the plant’s area to gather more information on the high nutrient load found in the River Luga and its specific source.

Furthermore, a plan will be outlined for continuing the investigation, if needed, together with the plant, international financial institutions and the Russian authorities. HELCOM’s BALTHAZAR project, under which the samplings were taken, will remain a platform for further work to address this significant pollution.

For the visit, the EuroChem management has invited representatives of HELCOM’s BALTHAZAR Project, NEFCO and the Ministries of Environment of Finland and Russia, accompanied by other Russian experts and authorities.
“It’s encouraging that the plant’s management is ready to jointly assess the reasons behind the recent findings on high phosphorus loads in the River Luga. The main responsibility to manage the situation lies within the plant and the Russian authorities. I’d also like to stress that the reliability of environmental and pollution load data is the foundation for effective actions in the protection of the Baltic Sea,” explains NEFCO’s Board Member, Director Kristiina Isokallio from the Ministry of the Environment of Finland.

“The industrial area related to fertiliser production, including the waste deposits, will be jointly assessed and further samplings taken so that more light will be shed on the source of the high phosphorus loads. Clarity will be indispensable for identifying the necessary measures to control the situation swiftly,” says Kaj Forsius, BALTHAZAR Project Manager from HELCOM.

“There are techniques and solutions available to mitigate pollution from fertiliser production which can be offered for fast track implementation in order to significantly reduce the discharges of nutrients,” says Senior Manager Karl-Johan Lehtinen, Head of the environmental unit at NEFCO.

The recent findings that revealed a significant load of phosphorus in the River Luga flowing into the Gulf of Finland is the result of the collaboration within the BALTHAZAR project, funded by the EU and led by the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE). The project’s Steering Group meeting on 18 January, chaired by a representative from the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, supported the plans to use BALTHAZAR as a platform to continue the investigation immediately. It was decided to carry out this investigation together with the responsible authorities and other project stakeholders in order to obtain a more complete picture of the nutrient inputs and help take the necessary measures.

The process is being closely followed up and the progress will be reviewed at the next annual HELCOM meeting on 6–7 March 2012.

Learn more about the BALTHAZAR project

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