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Research project will reduce eutrophication in the Baltic Sea

One major problem for the healthy state of the Baltic Sea is Phosphorus leakage from agricultural land to the sea. Recent desk/lab studies estimates the potential of using ditch dams and ditch filters to reduce this leakage with 30-40%. This project will assess the real potential and cost effectiveness for ditch dams and ditch filters to reduce Phosphorus leakage from arable land around the Baltic Sea.

Leakage of nutrients from agricultural land is one of the main causes of eutrophication of the Baltic Sea. Despite mitigation measures for Phosphorus already being made in Sweden, leakage of Phosphorus is still much too high. To achieve rapid mitigation effects, measures should be done in and at ditches downstream the arable land. Protective zones and construction of wetlands are measures already in use today, but they are not efficient enough to obtain aspired result of reduced leakage of Phosphorus. These measures also reduce a significant area of agricultural land and are not always welcomed by farmers.

IVL has recently in a desk study estimated the potential of using ditch dams and ditch filters to reduce leakage of Phosphorus from agricultural land with 30-40%. Earlier studies show that filters with different filter materials are effective to separate Phosphorus from sewage water. They should have good potential also with water from agricultural land, even if the levels of Phosphorus are lower.

- We think it is utmost importance to grant a project that has the potential to reduce the nutrient leakage from agricultural land rapidly. Leakage from agricultural land to the sea is one of the major contributs of nutrients to the sea so it is very important to curve this problem, says Björn Carlson, founder of Baltic Sea 2020 that finances the project together with IVL.

The analyses of Phosphorus reduction capacity will be conducted using flow-proportional monitoring before and after the dam and filter installations. Water samples are taken automatically when a given amount of water has passed the sampler. The samples are stored and collected when the sampler is full. The flow is measured using a pressure logger or a Doppler instrument, depending on what type that is most suitable at the measurement station. One flow gauge controls all the samplers at one site.

For more information, please contact:
Sam Ekstrand, IVL, +46 8-598 563 45
Conrad Stralka, Baltic Sea 2020, +46 8- 673 97 62