The WATERCHAIN project aims to reduce nutrients and hazardous substances in the Baltic Sea
Nutrient and hazardous substance reduction in the Baltic Sea is important all across Europe.
Launched in October 2015, the WATERCHAIN project aims to reduce inflows of those substances into the Baltic Sea from rivers in various countries. The focus is on pilot watersheds (in Estonia Tallinn’s water intake): mapping of sources of highest pollution and experimenting on new technologies. Researchers from various countries will compare the situation in partner countries and the measures implemented, and will share and learn from each other’s experiences.
The main goal behind the WATERCHAIN project is to increase awareness of the consequences of organizations’ and individuals’ activities and to promote the improvement of the condition of the Baltic Sea. Involvement of local people within the catchment area of the pilot watershed is ensured by means of various events and training sessions, as well as through social media. Existing information and new ideas collected will be collated in an interactive handbook which includes, for example, practical instructions on how to prepare and use cost-effective filter systems.
Tallinn’s water intake - Estonia’s highest drinking water consumption source
The pilot watershed chosen in Estonia is Tallinn’s water intake with a total area of around 2,500 km2, which mainly covers the Harju sub-basin. In-depth research concentrates, for example, on the nutrient load and sources of hazardous substances.
Nutrients enter the Baltic Sea through agriculture and human activity (for example, in areas not connected to public sewerage systems), and also through forest management practices. In addition, the impact of the area’s soil types on water quality will be analyzed under the project. Furthermore, certain areas will be selected in which nutrient concentration and/or load does not correspond to the standards established in Estonia. In those areas, in-depth studies of water quality will be carried out.
To investigate hazardous substances, those contained in widespread consumables and chemicals most commonly used in agriculture were selected. Data for several hazardous substances to be analyzed are not available or incomplete in Estonia. In the pilot watershed area, focus will be on the hazardous substances found in rainwater in new residential areas close to Tallinn. Based on the results obtained, implementation of new, small-size purification methods in the rainwater systems of pilot watersheds will be evaluated.
The WATERCHAIN project is financed by the European Union’s Central Baltic Programme, and in addition to Estonia, partners from Finland, Åland, Sweden, and Latvia are participating.
The project is coordinated by Satakunta University of Applied Sciences / WANDER Nordic Water and Materials Institute, and Estonian partners in the project are Tallinn University of Technology and the Estonian Environmental Research Centre.
More information is available at: waterchain.samk.fi
Ivar Annus PhD, Senior Research Fellow
Tallinn University of Technology, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering
Phone: +372 620 2557
Ülle Leisk, Chief Specialist
Estonian Environmental Research Centre
Phone: +372 611 2916