LIFE GoodWater IP Good practice demonstration site in Engure

Clean water is one of the prerequisites for a quality life. Latvia’s surface and groundwater resources are sufficient to fully provide for the population of our country. The water of our rivers and lakes is a legacy we have inherited from previous generations, and it is our duty to ourselves and future generations to manage our land in such a way that the status of our water resources quality improves.

The quality is affected by human activities

In nature, water can purify itself, so water is a renewable resource. The ability of water to self-purify can be affected by human activities, both in a positive and negative way. Humans can affect the hydrological regime of water – flow and water level. In ancient times, cities were formed near rivers as people need water every day. Today, cities with their paved streets and dense buildings can impede the natural circulation of water.

Human activity causes pollution – point source pollution and diffused pollution. Point source pollution is easy to detect and therefore relatively easier to control. These can be sewage inlets, emergency sites, etc. Sources of diffuse pollution are unevenly distributed and difficult to control. They can be caused by precipitation, air pollution entering the water through precipitation, wastewater not connected to the central sewerage system, etc.

Water circulation in nature (picture)

The LIFE GoodWater IP project has brought together 19 Latvian organizations to jointly seek and implement solutions to improve the ecological status of Latvia’s surface waters.

The LIFE GoodWater IP aims to improve water quality in the long term in about 30% of rivers and lakes the water quality of which have been identified as being below good quality. We will do this by developing, adapting to Latvian conditions and implementing innovative management and governance measures. The project runs from 2020 to 2027.

Good practice demonstration site in Engure (“Pagastmalas,” Engure)

Proper wastewater treatment is one of the most important ways to prevent negative human impacts on water quality. Various circumstances have to be taken into account in this process, such as the highly seasonal amount of wastewater treated in coastal cities. The western shore of the Gulf of Riga and the Engure wastewater treatment plant have been selected as a demonstration of good practice for the LIFE GoodWater IP project to showcase to other municipalities the most sustainable and effective solutions to this problem.

At the project demonstration site in Engure, we plan to install equipment to absorb the large amounts of wastewater typical of the summer season and to smooth the treatment process for acceptance and treatment of various wastewaters from non-centralized systems. An orderly and convenient sewage reception system for private houses will stop the possibility of release of untreated wastewater into the environment.

Wastewater treatment equipment in Engure
Engure wastewater treatment plant
Wastewater before and after treatment in Engure

The goal of our work is to decrease human pollution of the environment – untreated domestic wastewater reaching the Baltic Sea. This will help to improve the ecological and chemical quality of the water in the Gulf of Riga and reduce the eutrophication of the Baltic Sea – excessive water richness in nitrogen and phosphorus. Under eutrophication conditions, the waters overgrow and dangerous algae multiply, but the amount of oxygen decreases.