Press release 29.11.2004


ANSWER TO THE WRITTEN QUESTION OF THE MEMBER OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT HENRIK LAX:

The Commission gives green light to purification of all waste water in St Petersburg.

The EU-commission is ready to support the water purification projects in St Petersburg, so all the waste water would be purified in the future. In a written question to the Commission the member of the European Parliament, Henrik Lax (sfp) stressed that even after next year's completion of the southwest water treatment plant, 1/3 of all waste water will still run unpurified into the Finnish Gulf. This unpurified waste water from 1,5 million inhabitants constitutes the biggest individual source of discharge in the Baltic Sea.

The Commission implies in its answer that the extension of the sewerage network in the Northern parts of the city is supported by other donors as well. The cost of the extension is estimated to 200 million euros. The project will result in approximately 400 sewers leading to the city's Northern water treatment plant, instead of the current situation where the content runs unpurified into the Finnish Gulf.

- This is a signal to the Finnish government as well. The Baltic Sea states have to make a common effort in order to reduce the discharges emanating from St Petersburg. We need measures to get all water purified before 2010. With eight EU-member countries surrounding the Baltic Sea, it has to be possible to find a solution, states Lax.

According to Lax, this project is in a key position in the work to reduce the discharges of nitrogen and phosphorus in the Baltic Sea. The eutrophication increases the production in the sea, which means that more oxygen is used in the degradation of organic material. The periods of lack of oxygen have therefore extended, they occur more often and spread to wider areas. The lack of oxygen has already cut out almost half of the animal colonies of the Baltic Sea grounds. There has to be an end to this, says Henrik Lax.