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Urban waste waters in key role

To reach a good environmental status of the Baltic Sea, the annual phosphorus load needs to be reduced by 15.000 tons.
By reaching 0.5mg/l P in the outgoing waste water of the large waste water treatment plants (over 10.000 population equivalents), the annual phosphorus load to the Baltic Sea could be reduced by 6000 tons.

Eutrophication is the most significant environmental problem of the Baltic Sea. It is caused by both nitrogen and phosphorus inputs from human activities, but with respect to e.g. massive occurrences of blue-green algae, phosphorus plays a primary role. New actions to reduce the phosphorus loads are urgently needed.

According to Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission HELCOM, annual reductions of some 15,000 tons (42 %) of phosphorus are required to achieve good environmental status of the Baltic Sea. Through efficient handling of community wastewaters, it is possible to remove a major part of the phosphorus load in a quick and cost-efficient way. Almost a half of the HELCOM phosphorus reduction target can be achieved by implementing the HELCOM recommendation of 0,5 mg/l P in outgoing wastewaters in larger municipal waste water treatment plants.

PURE partner ZWiK's Pomorzany waste water treatment plant in Szczecin, Poland. Photo: ZWiK
PURE partner ZWiK's Pomorzany waste water treatment plant in Szczecin, Poland. Photo: ZWiK
The results and methods of wastewater treatment vary considerably in different cities around the Baltic Sea. Efficient techniques to remove phosphorus from waste water exist and are in use e.g. in Nordic countries. On the other hand, there are many waste water treatment facilities that require updating. By targeting these waste water treatment plants the state of the Baltic Sea can be improved.

Read more about the work in PURE: PURE tackles phosphorus loads from waste water treatment plants



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