Historical Oil Contamination in Ventspils to Be Eliminated

22/07/2021

In July, Ventspils Freeport Authority started implementing one of the largest environment clean-up project in Ventspils. In the next three years, it is planned to clean the territory of the former wastewater treatment plant complex “Ūdeka” and the territory of oil pipeline network from the historical oil product contamination, thereby preventing further spread of contamination.. Total value of the project is more than 5 million euros.

The territories to be cleaned up â€” the territory of the former waste water treatment plant complex “Ūdeka” at 68 Dzintaru Street and the territory of oil pipeline network at 52c Dzintaru Street â€” are located in the northern part of Ventspils only 30 to few hundred meters from the Baltic Sea short and Northern Pier of Ventspils port. The owner of the territories is Ventspils city municipality, but both properties are transferred in the possession of Ventspils Freeport Authority.

Applying sustainable cleaning technologies, the fraction of oil products will be eliminated in the bottom of the contaminated territory and parallel to the Baltic Sea shore zone, approximately 300 meters long filtering and cleaning system will be installed in the contaminated territory that would prevent further migration of contaminated groundwater in the direction of the Baltic Sea, completely eliminating the contamination risks of the marine areas. In addition to recovery works, public information campaign will be developed, increasing the public understanding of topical environment and climate matters.

As a result of development of Ventspils port territory after World War Two, oil and chemical cargo transhipment terminals were built â€” Ventspils Nafta pumping station and Ventspils near-port factory. Along with those, Soviet Army tank site was operating. It has been discovered that several fuel leaks were detected during the operations of tank site.  Moreover, several cases of fractures of pumping base pipes in the pipeline network have been detected since the beginning of operations of the pumping station in 1961. In the 1980s, it was discovered that the reason of fractures was poor pipe welding quality. Considering that the contaminated area is very close to the Baltic Sea shore and Venta River, in the event of flooding it is possible that the pollution might spread uncontrollably and threaten the shore, Baltic Sea and public health.

On 14 July 2021, a contract was concluded between Ventspils Freeport Authority and Ministry of Regional Development and Local Government (VARAM) that manages the Norwegian grant environment and climate programme open tender procedure “Reduction of Risks Related to Historically Contaminated Territories” on implementation of the project “Place Historically Contaminated by Oil Products in Ventspils â€” Former WTP “Ūdeka” (cadastre No. 27000290133) Territory and Oil Product Main Pipeline Network (cadastre No. 27000290007) â€” Recovery” in cooperation with the Norwegian partner â€‘ foundation “International Development Norway AS” and Latvian project partner â€‘ foundation “Ventspils Augsto tehnoloÄŁiju parks”. The implementation period of the project is from 1 July 2021 to 30 April 2024. The project budget is 5,117,000 euros. Norwegian financial instrument co-financing is 4,349,450 euros.