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City of Warsaw Takes Action to Reduce Phosphorus Discharges into River Vistula and the Baltic Sea

The Mayor of Warsaw Mrs. Hanna Gronkiewicz – Waltz together with the Chairs of the private foundations John Nurminen Foundation in Finland and Baltic Sea 2020 in Sweden signed a Letter of Intent this week, expressing their intention to drastically reduce the amount of phosphorus leaving Warsaw Waste Water Treatment Plants.

The large amount of phosphorus entering the Baltic Sea from waste water is one of the main causes of blue-green algae bloom attacks in the Baltic every summer, spoiling summer holidays for thousands of people on coast.

The Foundations and the City of Warsaw have agreed to investigate the feasibility and cost efficiency of chemical phosphorus removal at the wastewater treatment plants of Warsaw. Their intention is to achieve an average annual concentration of maximum 0.5 mg phosphorus in litre of effluent on continuous bases. This level is half the concentration stipulated by EU Waste Water Treatment Directive, and in harmony with what is recommended by HELCOM Baltic Sea Acton Plan.

Poland has a crucial role in the protection of the Baltic Sea since almost half of the residents based in the watershed of the Baltic Sea live in Poland. One-third of the Baltic Sea’s phosphorus load of approximately 30,000 metric tons comes from Poland. The Foundations launched the project “Clean Baltic Sea Poland” this year, to accelerate phosphorus removal in Polish Waste Water Treatment Plants. The objective of the whole project is to reduce 1 000 tons of phosphorus from the effluent of Polish Wastewater Treatment Plants. The Letter of Intent with City of Warsaw is the first vital step in this project.

John Nurminen Foundation and Baltic Sea 2020 will provide financial support to perform a Technical Audit, a quick and concise review of the Warsaw plants, to establish the most cost effective measures to reach the objective. Based on the report, a project agreement will be developed and the reduction of phosphorus will start in 2009. 

 For more information, please contact:
Lotta Samuelson, Baltic Sea 2020, +46 86739761, +46 708238747
Martti Lariola, Project Director, Clean Baltic Sea Poland, +358 502612
Leszek Drogosz, Deputy Director of Infrastructure, Department of the City of Warsaw, +48 225023664