Thematic Group Leader Maija Fonteina, Baltic Coasts

The attention of the project wastewater working group is focused on issues related to point source pollution of the surface water – its sources and impacts on surface waters in Latvia. Wastewater is one of the most important causes of point source pollution, and its collection and treatment has a huge impact on the environment, human health and the economy – both locally and globally.

Reducing the environmental impact of wastewater collection and treatment systems and achieving their economic, environmental and social sustainability is one of the key objectives of the LIFE GoodWater IP project. The focus of several project activities is directly on the inspection and analysis of the operation of decentralised sewage systems and small wastewater treatment plants (abbreviated – WWTP, with an installed capacity of less than 5 m3 of wastewater per day).

In the first phase of the Project from 2019 until 2021, the evaluation of the operation of small WWTPs and the assessment of the infrastructure and wastewater management of the sewage management facilities has been carried out in the selected good practice demonstration objects in the villages of Engure and Nākotne. The impacts of wastewater management have been identified in Nākotne village on the waterbody at risk L117SP (river Auce in the section from Rīgava till its entry into river Svēte), while in Engure – on the coastal waterbody at risk CDE (west coast of the Gulf of Riga). Project Action A3 “Preparatory activity for reduction of point source pollution, including sewage systems” is nearing completion, reports on the impacts of centralised and decentralised wastewater systems in Nākotne village have been developed, as well as practical recommendations and proposals to reduce the risks from these impacts of centralised and decentralised sewage systems in the village. The reports are provided in the files below. Among other things, we have conducted in-depth research and analysis of conclusions in the territory of Engure village to assess the current and make future forecasts of decentralised municipal wastewater pollution load on surface waterbodies and groundwater, as well as developed practical proposals for the reduction of the pollution load of the decentralised sewage systems to improve the environmental condition of the waterbody at risk CDE in the village of Engure.

The obtained results will be integrated into the River Basin Management Plans of the 4th period.

Based on the research studies and developed reports, in 2022 we have commenced the implementation of Action C7 “Demonstration and pilot activities to reduce point source pollution”, which envisages a construction of a new WWTP in Engure village, and a reconstruction and technical improvements of centralised wastewater management systems in Nākotne village.

The visual condition of the existing WWTP in Engure and Nākotne is shown in the images below.

Within the Project Action A3, a logical risk modelling tool has been developed to identify and characterise the potential impacts of decentralised sewage systems (abbreviated – DSS) in populated areas with DSS facilities over 50. The tool is based on geographic information systems and consists of two levels. The first level is designed for applying the base or mandatory input data on the parameters characterising the DSS and their potential impacts on the environment / groundwater and surface waterbodies. The second level of the risk modelling tool requires input of additional background data to supplement the base data (terrain characteristics, predominant classes of site soils, networking of drainage systems) for in-depth assessment of the potential environmental impacts. The tool serves as a support solution for municipalities in management and registration of DSS, as well as to obtain recommendations developed by industry experts on potential risks and actions to prevent and reduce their impacts.

Interested municipalities are invited to integrate the tool into the day-to-day management and administration of municipal wastewater. For further information on how to use the logical risk modelling tool for identification of the environmental risks of DSS, please contact Maija Fonteina Kazeka, tool development project manager of the association “Baltic Coasts”, by e-mail maija.fonteina.kazeka@baltijaskrasti.lv.

Both the tool and the instructions designed for its use are aimed at providing the end user with an easy-to-use and comprehensible user experience.

An overview of the risk modelling tool is available in the report below: DSS RISK MODELLING TOOL MANUAL.

We will continue to address wastewater-related issues in the LIFE GoodWater IP project within the preparatory Actions A and implementation Actions C, as well as cooperation with the population and representatives of shareholders will be ensured within sub-action C14.5 and communication Actions E – for instance, in development of topics for the wastewater management training program.