Danish-Polish Environmental Co-operation 1991-2000Chapter 9
Clean water - a scarce resource
The fact that there has been a reduction in the quantity of waste water discharged into the rivers and the Baltic Sea, is an important step towards sustainability. The DANCEE supported projects have caused a reduction of discharge of organic pollutants and nutrients to the Baltic Sea by 14 per cent. This reduction corresponds to more than three times the discharge from all Danish waste water treatment plants.
Water quantity and quality has become a resource in short supply. This is especially seen in Poland, which is poorer in resources than most European countries: 1,580 m3 of water per inhabitant a year compared to the European average of 4,560 m3. Therefore it is natural that water consumption and wasterwater treatment have received environmental priority in the Polish environmental strategy. A strategy, which covers municipal and industrial waste water treatment, water supply and recipients.
Another reason for the water resources being so valuable in Poland is the major economic significance of the watercourses where the Polish economy covers 81 per cent of its water demand from this source. For instance this means that during the years 1992-1997, annual abstraction of surface water for economic purposes was in the range of 12,000 million m3.
The industrial sector used more than 71 per cent of the abstracted water. The municipal management used 16 per cent of the exploited surface water, while agriculture and forestry accounted for the remaining 13 per cent.
Closing the financial gap
Municipal waste water treatment covers 49 per cent of all projects for which 73 per cent of the grants to the water sector have been dedicated. The contribution for co-financing is approximately 90 per cent and DANCEE has typically ensured the final part of the financing and thus kick-starting the projects.
Water pollution projects- Distribution of DANCEE financing to the water sector
The DANCEE supported projects have caused a reduction of the discharge of organic pollutants and nutrients (phosphorus) to the Baltic Sea by 14 per cent. This reduction corresponds to more than three times the discharge from all Danish waste water treatment plants. In addition to that, the projects supported also have resulted in water savings or new production of water for approximately 175.000 citizens.
The Polish contribution to the pollution of the Baltic Sea has been reduced during the recent years. This reflects the decreasing pollution of the Vistula and Oder, since the socalled coastal rivers flowing directly into the sea have relatively limited effect on the overall loads.
The Vistula River, which is one of the last large rivers in Europe with a considerable unregulated course and with an unique living environment for many species of flora and fauna, provides some 56 per cent of the total water input from Poland's territory to the Baltic Sea. The Oder River provides 34 per cent and coastal rivers supply 9 per cent. Hydrographically, 99,7 per cent of Poland has runoff to the Baltic Sea.
Discharge of waste water into the nature
In spite of the enormous biodiversity in especially the Vistula River the discharge of saline waters from the hard-coal mines represent a particularly huge water quality problem of the Polish rivers. More than 80 per cent of the water abstracted - the same as approximately 10,000 million m3 per year - is discharged to the surface waters as waste water. As a justification it should be stated that with regard to waste water treatment, a significant progress has been made. However, the amount of waste water discharged to the environment without the required treatment is still excessive both in urban and rural areas.
Groundwater quality is generally much better than that of the surface water. However, available data indicate a widespread and locally severe occurrence of man-made pollution in the groundwater.
After all, the consistent Polish water management policy over the last 10 years has brought a reduction of water consumption in the economy by diminishing its loss, through a more efficient use and the improvement of the water resource quality.
Agenda 21 in Poland, Progress Report 1992-98, MoE, 1998
The Polish waste water treatment plants use an additional 20-60 per cent of energy compared to similar plants in Denmark. Therefore considerable savings can be achieved in Poland. The objective of the projects at the Narew River was to achieve the greatest possible environmental effects in the form of energy savings and improved treatment of waste water. This was achieved via transfer of Danish know-how and technology.
When the first phase of the Narew River project was finalised, it was concluded that the energy consumption on the waste water treatment plants could be reduced by 30-50 per cent through the implementation of the proposed changes.
The Narew River, which has a catchment area of approximately 28,000 km2 flows from Belarus in the East to North of Warsaw, where it joints the Vistula river and continues to the Baltic Sea near Gdansk.
There has been granted financial support to 6 projects in the Narew river catchment area. These projects have consisted partly of planning activities and partly proposals for specific activities on several waste water treatment plants (WWTPs) in the area.
The second phase comprises plants in 8 towns of very different sizes. Bialystok with around 275,000 inhabitants is the largest and Ruciane Nida, a tourist town, with less than 10,000 inhabitants is the smallest. The total number of inhabitants of these 8 towns is around 400,000.
The objective of the project "Optimisation of WWTPs along the Narew River and Transfer of Know-How" was to establish specific proposals for the change of the operation on 10 municipal WWTPs within the existing physical limits with a view to achieving energy savings and improvements of the treatment efficiency.
The optimisation of the processes on the existing WWTPs was carried out after a study of the existing conditions.
In 2 of the 8 towns it was necessary to construct new treatment plants, if the planned reduction in energy consumption was going to be achieved.
Before introducing the measures recommended, as a result of the study, the present electricity consumption and the treatment efficiency of the plant were measured. Once the proposed changes and adjustments of the present operation were implemented, similar measurements were carried out once again in order to document the environmental benefits achieved.
One of the ways that DANCEE assists is via transfer of Danish know-how. By taking
flow proportional samples with the use of Danish equipment, experts from Denmark and the
local personnel in the Narew River Basin estimates the loading at the WWTP.
The aeration system is one of the most energy consuming processes at a WWTP. By using the aeration system and thereby adding oxygen, the nitrogen is eliminated from the wastewater. At the Lapy WWTP, the aeration system was over dimensioned. To secure against precipitation of particles from the wastewater, a mixer which kept the water in circulation was installed. The oxygen meter secured that the aeration system starts when the concentration of oxygen reaches a certain level. By installing the mixer and the oxygen meter, the Lapy WWTP saved 800 KWH per day.
The preparation of the projects allowed for a later extension of the WWTPs to fulfil demands according to the EU directive on treatment of urban waste water.
Some of the proposals for improvement are not justifiable based on a purely economic point of view, but have been decided based on a ecological and environmental point of view. However, improved waste water discharge will, under any circumstance, result in economic savings as the WWTPs in Poland, at present, pay taxes on all the waste water discharged regardless of whether or not discharge standards have been respected. In addition to such taxes, penalties are to be paid, if the discharge standards are not respected.
The projects was launched before the EU approximation process was started in Poland, therefore the projects follows Polish environmental requirements and not the EU requirements.
When the Polish year 2000 discharge standards has been implemented on all the WWTPs included in the project, it is estimated that the total discharge of waste water per day has been reduced by approximately 1030 t of nitrogen, 320 kg of phosphorous and 630 kg BOD, organic matter. The total daily energy savings will be around 30,000 kWh. In Poland such savings correspond to about DKK 10,000 per day (USD 1147).
The pay back time for the improvements required by the optimisation project is typically 2 to 3 years.
Even though the amounts of pollution discharged into the Baltic sea by Poland has been reduced during the recent years, the amount of waste water discharged to the environment without the required treatment is still excessive. The Harbour of Szczecin is an industrial area, which produces a lot of waste water. The project at Ostrow Grabowski Waste Water Treatment Plant, which is located at the harbour, has the objective to reduce the pollution. A new waste water treatment plant was established and the results are impressive.
The project idea for Ostrow Grabowski waste water treatment plant, WWTP for treatment of the main part of the waste water produced at the Harbour area was already born in 1992-93 in the first project outlining plans for the environmental development at Szczecin Harbour. At that time it was a part of a larger plan also including 2 - 3 small "local" waste water treatment plants at the harbour. Later this has been adjusted to pumping lines to the new main plant at the Island Ostrow Grabowski.
The objective of the project was to establish the waste water treatment plant at the harbour and to reduce pollution of the Baltic Sea area from the waste water produced at an industrial area of approximately 500 ha at the Harbour of Szczecin.
When the plant was finished in June 2000 there were both waste water treatment plants for the land based waste water production at the harbour and a stage for "Waste water from ships".
Treatment of the organically polluted waste water takes place in a high-technology active sludge plant with biological nitrogen and phosphorus removal according to a compact and relatively simple concept.
The main activities were:
As the new plant only has been in normal operation about a year the environmental effects are not yet documented, but it is obvious that the pollution outlet have been reduced as the new plant have cleaned the waste water as intended.
Insufficient treatment of domestic and industrial waste water caused serious water polluting problems around the city of Poznan in the west central Poland. The problems could be solved via new technology to the Poznan Central Waste water Treatment Plant and via training of the employees at the plant. The result was an improvement of the environmental standards around the city
Around 600,000 people are living in the city of Poznan, which is located within the Odra River basin. The city is a major source of pollution running to the Baltic Sea. The environmental problems have earlier been so serious that Poznan was identified as a "hot spot" by the Helsinki Commission.
This designation was going to be removed by introducing new technology to the Poznan central waste water treatment plant. The intention was to ensure a physicobiological treatment of the waste water from Poznan, by upgrading the Polish waste water technology, so that the huge demand for waste water treatment in Poland could be met by using cost effective up-to date methods.
The project should transfer new technology and Danish know-how to Poland taking into account the local conditions of the waste water treatment plants and to obtain a positive effect on the environment by applying a modern control system.
This was done by an introduction of an Instrumentation, Control and Automation system, the ICA to the plant, which should provide equipment, construction supervision and training in the operation system. The STAR system, Superior Tuning And Reporting, which should minimise the consumption of energy and chemicals, and improve the effluent quality of the plant. Apart from this it was an intention to reduce the consumption of chemicals by 20 percent and the energy consumption by 25 per cent.
The environmental effects after the implementation of the project have been achieved, which means a reduction in the use of chemicals by about 20 per cent and the energy consumption by about 25 per cent.
As side effect the project have influenced on the employment situation in the water sector in Poznan, because the high technological equipment has required more qualified employees.