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Phosphorus removal at Vitebsk WWTP

The project will improve phosphorus removal at the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) of Vitebsk and remove 46 tons of eutrophying phosphorus per year from the Daugava River and the Baltic Sea.

Raised Of €50,000.00
58.526% Complete (success)
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Flexible Funding

This Campaign started on November 30 and closed on May 15, 2018, 14:51.
(UTC/GMT 15/05/2018 11:51)

The quantified nutrient reduction/removal is :46000 kg/a

Campaign Closed

Funders 3

Phosphorus removal at Vitebsk WWTP

The municipal wastewater treatment plant of Vitebsk, Belarus has the equipment needed for effective phosphorus removal from their wastewaters, but currently not enough financing to remove all of the eutrophying phosphorus from their wastewaters. Help us to buy them 10 trucks of wastewater treatment chemicals! As Belarus is not a member of the Baltic Sea Marine Protection Commission HELCOM and national requirements are less stringent than in the EU or HELCOM member countries, the water utility cannot allocate enough public funds for reaching the effective treatment levels commonly applied in the other Baltic Sea region countries.

When comparing water protection measures in the Baltic Sea region, chemical phosphorus removal at the Vitebsk wastewater treatment plant is one of the most cost-efficient ways to reduce nutrient load to the Baltic Sea and Daugava River. With a relatively small amount of financing (100 000 euros), the local water utility would be able to reach the treatment efficiency required in the Baltic Sea region (90% phosphorus removal) and remove 46 tons of annual phosphorus load to the Daugava River flowing to the Baltic Sea. This corresponds to almost twice the amount discharged by the Helsinki wastewater treatment plant annually. 

What We Need and Why

The project will launch effective phosphorus removal at the Vitebsk municipal wastewater treatment plant by purchasing precipitation chemicals and treating the effluent so that 90% removal level of phosphorus will be achieved for one year. With this measure, 46 tons of annual phosphorus load can be reduced, which will improve the state of the Baltic Sea and local watercourses.

Altogether 100 000 euros is needed for purchasing the chemicals and removing 46 tons of phosphorus, of which 50 000 euros from Nutribute financiers. Phosphorus precipitation can be started even with a smaller amount of funds; however, in that case the amount of reduced annual phosphorus load will be less than 46 tons. The municipal water utility will cover another 50 000 euros (or 49% of the chemicals purchased) from their own funds. This amount is estimated to be sufficient to cover purification chemicals for one year. 

The Impact

The quantified nutrient reduction/removal is 46000 kg for 1 year(s).

The financing will be used to purchase chemicals for phosphorus precipitation. The procurement will be done according to best international procurement practices by organizing an open public tender procedure, which John Nurminen Foundation will oversee.

The water utility will monitor phosphorus levels in outgoing phosphorus on a daily basis and compile a monthly report on treatment results and the amount of reduced phosphorus load.

Moreover, the amount of precipitation chemicals used will be reported. The purchases will be documented by certified copies of billing and payment documents, as well as consignment notes for shipping of the goods and acceptance certificates.

Based on the above mentioned information, John Nurminen Foundation will publish quarterly reports on the project results. 

Risks and Challenges

The main challenges are related to the ability of the water utility personnel to operate the chemical precipitation system, as there is currently only limited experience on enhanced phosphorus removal in Belarus. However, the Foundation is prepared to provide technical assistance to the water utility if they face technical or operational problems.

Another challenge is related to the ongoing reconstruction works of the wastewater treatment plant, which may sometimes limit the possibilities to operate phosphorus removal as some of the aeration lines and sedimentation tanks will be under construction. However, despite the reconstruction, usage of the system is possible in most days, and the amount of reduced total phosphorus load will stay the same – this will however somewhat lengthen the overall project implementation time.

Timetable, Milestones & Reporting

The project will be implemented in 2017-2018.

The water utility will provide three reports on the project, the first one in September 2017, the second in June 2018 and the third in December 2018.

John Nurminen Foundation is the project leader. The Foundation has over 10 years of experience in running successful wastewater treatment projects especially in former Soviet countries, and reducing over 2 000 tons of eutrophying phosphorus annually with the projects implemented so far.

Elena Kaskelainen is the project manager for the Vitebsk project. She is a wastewater treatment specialist who has graduated from the Leningrad Technical University and has over 20 years of experience of working in the former Soviet countries. Elena is fluent in Russian and has implemented phosphorus removal projects in several Russian and Belarusian water utilities.

Marjukka Porvari is responsible for contracts and procurement of the Vitebsk project. She has specialized in environmental projects in the former Soviet countries, is fluent in Russian and has implemented over 30 water and wastewater related projects in the region during the past 20 years.



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The vision of Helsinki and of the Baltic Sea Challenge is a clean, productive and shared Baltic Sea. A clean Baltic Sea and the maritime city of Helsinki go hand in hand. As our new residential areas and business parks are opened, they will be all the more impressive and attractive as the status of the Baltic Sea improves. Our position as the first phosphorus neutral city of the Baltic Sea speaks of our pioneering spirit, and brings us credibility as an environmental stakeholder.

Jussi Pajunen, Mayor (until 2017) City of Helsinki