Sewage and the problem of drinking water in the Seleznevka river basin

On November 24, activists of the Friends of the Baltic organization, together with teachers-public water observers from Vyborg made a water quality test of Buslovka river in Luzhaika village, Vyborg district. Although this is a rather late time for field trips, we had a serious reason for this. We received a message from Oksana Uryadnikova, chairwoman of Luzhayka village. She said that residents complain about the poor quality of tap water in the village: it is reddish and has suspended matter, and after using water, an unpleasant sticky film remains on the skin. They fixed uncontrolled wastewater discharge into the Buslovka river, the tributary of the Seleznevka river. Oksana provided a photo and video recording of this situation. We could not ignore this appeal and decided to visit Luzhaika: to talk with locals, to take water express tests and to draw maximum attention to the situation. Seleznevka is an object of high attention for the Friends of the Baltic organization, because it is a transboundary river and the object of observation within the framework of Russian-Finnish cross-border cooperation project "Water meet people - learn, act, influence" (SEVIRA).

Oksana and other residents concerned about the situation in the village met us next to the non-working wastewater treatment station. One of the residents explained in detail the principle of wastewater treatment station operation. Unfortunately, the employees of the station were laid off, and WWT station has not been performing its functions in full for the last 5 years. We could see that wastewater doesn't reach the sewerage system at all, and instead of this wastewater spills directly into the field, and from there flows into the Buslovka river. Exacerbates this situation is aggravated that the place of wastewater discharge is located upstream of the river from the place where water is taken for water treatment facilities for drinking and other residents' home needs. We have made an express testing of water on biogens (nitrates, phosphates, ammonium) right next to the water discharge.  Despite of the fact that the indicators we tested do not exceed the permissible limits, their show presence of biogens in the river, especially ammonium may indicate that fresh wastewater is being discharged without treatment. At the same place our partners in the SEVIRA project from Roshydromet took a water sample. They will conduct laboratory tests of water samples, which can provide more accurate information on a larger number of indicators.

Oksana Uryadnikova told us the story about how their village struggle for the opportunity to use quality drinking water. Water supply problems have existed here for more than 5 years, while the population of the village is more than 600 people. Residents turned to the Governor of the Leningrad Region, Alexander Drozdenko, for help, wrote letters and appeals to various authorities (including the president) with a request to solve the problem of providing people with quality drinking water. 

Some success has been achieved: the employees of Russian Railways company (RR company is WWT owner and water supplier to Luzhayka village, as this settlement belongs to the railway station, which is the department of Russian Railways) not far ago have cleaned the water intake tower, restored the sewer hatches, and also promised to install additional filters for the drinking water. But this is far from a victory: it is necessary to change the pipes and restore sewage treatment facilities for its full-fledged work.

Friends of the Baltic will monitor the situation in Luzhayka village. After receiving laboratory tests, we plan to write an appeal to the regulatory authorities.