Russian water utility, Vodokanal Sosnoviy Bor, has completed a project to upgrade three pumping stations and introduce chemical phosphorous removal in the administrative area of Leningrad Obla in Northwest Russia.
Vodokanal Sosnoviy Bor is responsible for the water supply and wastewater treatment for a population of around 70,000 and is responsible for the maintenance of a 90 km network of sewer pipes in the municipality.
The upgrade works included modernisation of a pumping station next to the utility’s head office with ten new automatically controller 160 kW pumps. Prior to the work the facility had only six manually controlled pumps.
The project was financed by the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (NEFCO), Vodokanal, the Russian Federation, Sosnoviy Bor municipality, the Finnish Ministry of the Environment and the Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership (NDEP).
NEFCO is an international finance institution established in 1990 by the five Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden to provide loans and capital investment that generates positive environmental effects for the Nordic region.
Local financiers contributed more than 70% of total costs and Vodokanal was able to complete the project in less than three years after a loan agreement was signed with NEFCO in 2010.
According to NEFCO, following an extensive round of competitive bidding Grundfos and Siemens, among others, were selected to supply the technology to upgrade the existing systems.
The organisation explained that the installation of the automated pumps allows water flow to follow the demand patterns of the working day. In the morning and afternoon the pumping station works at full capacity, while demand slows at noon.
“About 80% of all the technical equipment at the treatment plant has been replaced to a tune of RUB 224 million ($6.8 million),” noted Anatoly S. Tselenko, director at Vodokanal Sosnoviy Bor.
“Thanks to the technical face-lift, we’ve also been able to cut down on electricity consumption by about 45%,” he added.
In addition to the modernised pumps and controls, the waterworks has also installed an ultraviolet (UV) treatment system to destroy harmful bacteria in wastewater.
The modernised treatment plant was inaugurated in April this year.
In the pipeline
While significant progress has already been made, NEFCO explained that a lot still remains to be done. For example, sludge handling is said to be causing difficulties for the operators and Vodokanal has deposited around 45,000 tonnes of sludge near the plant.
The organisation said that although the existing process meets the requirements imposed by Russian legislation, it fails to pass the stringent criteria established by the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission HELCOM.
Part of it is transported to St. Petersburg for incineration, which NEFCO said is an unsustainable and expensive solution for the 7,000 tonnes of sludge generated annually. Moreover, it takes a large fleet of road tankers to keep up with the deliveries.
“We’re planning to initiate a new project to improve efficiency in sludge processing,” said Vasily S. Vorob’yov, the city’s head of administration.
“Financing will be provided partly by the municipality and partly by the Russian Federation, but first we need to carry out a feasibility study before we get off the ground”, he added.
Cleaning up the region
According to NEFCO the regional stakeholders committed to cleaning up the Gulf of Finland have received the full backing from the decision makers in Sosnoviy Bor, and its management of this project has generated interest from other parts of the region.
“Recently we had a meeting in St. Petersburg with people from other water services to discuss similar topical projects elsewhere in the Leningrad region,” explained Tselenko.
“As we speak, the city councils of Vyborg and Tikhvin are negotiating with NEFCO on potential financing for new projects," he concluded.
A video looking at the project can be a viewed below.