Baltic Sea benefits from St. Petersburg plant

The US$ 213-million Southwest Wastewater Treatment Plant in St. Petersburg, Russia, commissioned on 22 September 2005, will drastically reduce the effluent load that the city is currently discharging into the Gulf of Finland.

The US$ 213-million Southwest Wastewater Treatment Plant in St. Petersburg, Russia, commissioned on 22 September 2005, will drastically reduce the effluent load that the city is currently discharging into the Gulf of Finland. The facility will burn solid waste produced from the treatment process, which will reduce phosphorus, nitrogen and other organic substances that pollute the Gulf of Finland and Baltic Sea.

Wastewater from St. Petersburg is the Baltic Sea’s single biggest pollution point source.

According to the municipal water utility Vodokanal, once fully operational, the new plant will have an average daily capacity of 330,000m3 and treat the wastewater using ultraviolet disinfection technology from 720,000 of St. Petersburg's population of five million. This plant will reduce by half the amount of untreated wastewater currently discharged directly into the sea. Specialists estimate that the St. Petersburg wastewater treatment system will reduce the overall amount of untreated wastewater discharged from the city into the sea to about 15 percent of the total.

Begun in the days of the former Soviet Union, and postponed due to lack of funds, the construction of the plant was resumed on 21 March 2003. The current project was financed from a total of 14 different Russian, Western European and Scandinavian sources, notably through bank loans, government grants and donations. The bodies involved include the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Nordic Investment Bank, the European Investment Bank, the Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership, NEFCO, the Swedfund International AB, EU TACIS Fund (Technical Assistance to the Commonwealth of Independent States), the Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation, the Finnish Ministry of the Environment and the Swedish International Development Agency. This project is the largest of its kind in Europe and its cost is estimated at around e180 million.

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