Seminar on Environmentally friendly ways of wastewater treatment for small settlements and gardening communities

How to deal with the problem of domestic wastewater treatment in settlements without central canalization, what kinds of the toilets to choose for rural households, and how to protect our water bodies from pollution - that were the topics of the seminar  “Environmentally friendly ways of wastewater treatment for small settlements and gardening communities”.

Seminar was held on November 29 in Saint-Petersburg by Ecocentrum Ltd within the Coalition Clean Baltic program "Barent-Baltic Region. Nature and People", and the project "Small-scale local solutions to reduce nutrient load into the Baltic Sea" of the Baltic Sea Conservation Fund.

The seminar was dedicated to the solutions for the treatment of small settlements and individual houses wastewater in the non-canalized areas of the Leningrad Region and the suburbs of St. Petersburg and ways to solve it.

Participants of the seminar were 43 persons: Vodocanal (waste-water enterprise) of Saint-Peterburg and Leningrad region, representatives of local municipalities, gardening and dachas communities from various districts of Leningrad region, specialists in the sphere of housing and communal services and the sector of nature management; environmental NGO, universities, producers of local treatment facilities and dry toilets, and media.

 During the seminar a series of reports were presented, including view of Coalition Clean Baltic to the problem of wastewater treatment in connection with eutrophication, HELCOM recommendations on wastewater treatment in small settlements, and positive examples of small-scale solutions in the Baltic Sea region. The experience of Vodokanal SPB so as their vision of wastewater treatment in rural areas was also presented, and the overview of absent and faulty wastewater treatment plants in rural settlements in the Leningrad Region was given.

Also participants learned about the experience of Finland in the solving of wastewater treatment issue in rural areas, particularly wide use of dry toilets. Two reports were dedicated to Russian experience of dry toilets use - in nature reserve of Kaliningrad region (by EKAT-Kaliningrad) and in gardening community Fauna in Leningrad region (by Ecocentrum Ltd). Representatives of enterprises told about the variety of dry toilets, filters for cleaning of gray waters, the danger of cesspools, the advantages and disadvantages of septic tanks and the diversity of local biological wastewater treatment plants.

Then participants worked in small groups to compare and choose more ecofriendly ways of wastewater treatment for particular needs in different cases (individual household in rural area, in gardening communities, or whole small settlement). Also participants in groups deliberate about key target groups and awareness raising methods to convince people and support them application of these ecofriendly wastewater solutions.

The result of the seminar work became the resolution about the needed methods to solve the wastewater treatment issue in non-canalized settlements. Participants noted the main available environmentally friendly ways of wastewater treatment such as:

- dry toilets for black waters with filters  for cleaning of gray waters or septic tanks for gray water with systems of post-cleaning,

- local biological wastewater treatment plants with high quality level of cleaning,

- ponds and wetlands for biological wastewater treatment.

The role of research and information work of water authorities, scientific and public organizations were determined. The representatives of producers of treatment facilities decided to interact actively with local authorities in the rural area and gardening communities. And local authorities will be more active in dissemination of information among rural residents and gardeners. Participants agreed about importance to promote control and punishment for the lack of treatment facilities in areas of individual households.

The resolution will be sent to the relevant legislative and executive authorities, public organizations, associations of gardeners, etc.