Newsletter and Technical Publications
<International Source Book On Environmentally Sound Technologies
for Wastewater and Stormwater Management>
7.11 Case studies (Topic k)
7.11.1 The Russian Federation
Like many other countries in
transition, the Russian Federation faces many problems in the field of market
oriented economy, efficient institutional and legal frameworks and financial
transparency. Since the break-down of the former Soviet Union in the beginning
of the 1990s, the decline in economic activity continues, partly due to
political and legal uncertainties. The reduced economic activities have also an
impact on the use and pollution of water resources.
Many water bodies in the
country are highly affected by man-made pollution. To improve the situation,
huge financial and material resources are necessary, which do not exist for the
time being. To move the process along, a stepwise improvement of the water
quality and priority setting for investments would be necessary. The existing
water management system still lacks efficiency, which makes it difficult to
improve water quality. Among the reasons are the very stringent standards,
which are difficult to implement and enforce. These standards are valid for
wastewater, which is discharged into the sewage network and discharged
wastewater after treatment. The
adaptation of the existing water law to more efficient standards used in
European market economy countries would be the first step in this direction. At
present, two main water laws are ruling water management in Russia. These are
the so called Water CodexEwhich lays down obligations regarding the use and
protection of the water resources (adopted 18 October 1995) and the law regarding
the protection of surface water against pollution (adopted in 1991).
Despite all efforts, the
overall water quality of freshwaters has improved little during the last
decade. Nevertheless, the discharge of wastewater into water bodies was reduced
by approximately 30%, from 76.4 to 55.7 km3/year. The amount of
polluting substances in wastewater also decreased, for several parameters even
up to 50 %. According to the State Water Inventory, substances most often
exceeding the maximum allowable concentrations in discharged wastewater are:
- Nitrate- ammonium (N-NH4) in the basins of the rivers Volga, Terek,
Amur, Western Dvina and Lake Baikal,
- Copper in the basins of the rivers Ob, Kuban and Neva,
- Phenols in the river basins of Yenisej, and Western Dvina,
- Phosphorous in the basins of the river Don, Ural, and Dnjepr,
- Oil products, organic substances, nitrite, iron, zinc and manganese in the
rivers mentioned above.
In 1998, the most
polluted river basins were those of the rivers Neva and Western Dvina, followed
by the Volga, the Northern Dvina and the Lena river (see figure 7.5a and 7.5b).
Not included in these statistics are estimates about non-point sources of
pollution, like impact on water quality from agricultural activities, urban
run-off, transport and others. Furthermore, in the given statistics no
accidental water pollution is included, or diffuse irrigation water. In 1998,
the amount of water used for irrigation was 7.3 km3, of which more
than 50% was used in the river basins of Kuban, Terek and Don. A large part of
this irrigation water is polluted by toxic chemicals as well as nitrogen and
phosphorus from fertilisers. The exclusion of the polluted irrigation water
from statistics leads to a distortion of the amount of discharged polluted
wastewater in the mentioned river basins.
Figure 7.5a: Pollution degree of the 14 main river basins
in the Russian Federation (1998)
Insufficient or not treated
wastewater is a serious pollution source for natural water bodies. According to
data of the State Water Inventory (table 7.11), 22 km3 of such
wastewater (12.3% of all discharged wastewater) was discharged in 1998 into
Another pollution source is
the diffuse input of polluted water from settlements without sewage network,
from streets and related traffic, from sealed surfaces in enterprises and from
areas with agricultural activities. Diffuse sources of pollution generally
contribute more than 50% to the total pollution of water bodies (Zhmur,
1999). More specifically, the share of
various substances is as follows: 60-80% nitrogen, up to 80% pesticides, 70%
oil products, 80%suspended matters and 20% organic substances.
A further strong pollution
source is sewage sludge, produced by wastewater treatment plants.
In Russia, the annual mean amount of sludge
production is about 80 million m3 (with a humidity of 96-97%), which
equals an amount of dry substance of about 3 million t/year.
Reuse, composting or
incineration of sludge is not common. The sludge contains a high amount of
metals and other hazardous substances.
Thus, its treatment becomes very expensive. Almost all sludge from
treatment plants is untreated and disposed off on land on sludge fields.
Because of the size of the country, there is enough space for new sludge
fields. According to the law, closed or used sludge fields have to be regularly
monitored, which is however not always done under the present economic
conditions. During rainfall and snow melt, the sludge may be washed away and
can adversely impact unpolluted areas.
||Number and names
of the river basins in Russia:
10. Lake Baikal
11. Northern Dvina
14. Western Dvina
degree was calculated as relation between the mean of the concentrations of 6
pollutants in wastewater and the maximum allowable concentrations of water standards
for fishery. The 6 pollutants are: organic matter, N-NH4, Fe, P total, nitrogen
and oil products.
Figure 7.5b: Pollution degree of the 14 main river basins in
the Russian Federation (1998)
Monitoring and control of water resources
Monitoring and control of
water resources is carried out by different State agencies at all
administrative levels (federal, regional, local levels).
Monitoring of surface waters,
for example, is carried out under the auspices of the Ministry of Natural
Resources and the Federal Service of Hydrometeorology and Monitoring of the
Environment (the latter entity only for marine and surface water monitoring),
together with other State agencies responsible for environmental protection.
The geological division of the Ministry of Natural Resources is mainly
responsible for groundwater monitoring. Other State agencies dealing with water
monitoring are the State Committee on Environmental Protection (man-made impact
on waters), the State Committee on Fishery (aquatic life protection) and
Ministry of Health (drinking water, mineral water and recreational waters). The
monitoring on surface waters is carried out on the federal, regional (according
to river basins), territorial and local level jointly with all the relevant
administrations on each level.
The control of water
resources is carried out by executive agencies of the regions, by the Ministry
of Natural Resources, by specialised State agencies for environmental
protection and other relevant agencies. Under the auspices of the above
Ministry, three different entities are responsible for water control including
the State control of the use and protection of water bodies being part of the
Ministry; the State control unit of the territories (in the frame of river
basins); and the State control units in the frame of the 89 regions in the
Russian Federation. The Senior staff of these bodies act at the same time as
inspectors for their area of responsibility. There are 289 water control
inspectorates, equipped with their own laboratories. Usually, they take samples
twice a year as far as 500m downstream of effluent discharge points, depending
on the volume of the wastewater discharge.
Responsibility for the
control and protection of ground water is jointly shared by the State control
agency for the use and protection of water bodies and the State geological
control agency (both belonging to the Ministry of Natural Resources), and the
State control for sanitation and epidemiology of the Ministry of Health.
The State inspectors are
entitled to control water users at any time, to give orders to these water
users, and to control the implementation of given orders. Moreover, they have
the power to cancel the water use licence, and in the worst case to close down
enterprises or entities which do not respect the laws.
Water quality standards
In Russia, several water
quality standards exist which apply to various uses of the water body. The most
stringent water quality standards are those for fisheries.
Almost all wastewater discharged into water
bodies has to correspond to water quality standards for fisheries, which are
stricter than those for human consumption. For example, all discharged
wastewater should by law not exceed BOD20 of 3 mg/l, NH4
ammonium 0.39mg/l, oil products 0.05 mg/l and Phosphate 0.15 mg/l.
These standards for fisheries
are also valid for industrial wastewater discharged into municipal sewage
systems. Industrial enterprises have to ensure the quality of their wastewater
meets the water standards of the fishery before being discharged into the
municipal system. To do so, these enterprises have to spend a huge amount of
money on their pre-treatment systems to make improvements regarding
construction and level of technology of their systems. Furthermore, enterprises
have to pay fines for exceeding water quality standards, which are not adapted
to the existing economic situation (inflation, costs and prices etc.).
By law, all newly built
houses or enterprises have to be connected to a sewage system. Most towns are
equipped with centralised sewage networks, so the implementation of this
obligation is not a problem. Villages mostly do not have networks, the people
discharge their grey-water into nature and the black water into pits.
Industrial and agricultural enterprises must have pre-treatment facilities by
law, before discharging into municipal sewage networks or into surface waters.
The operation and efficiency of such pre-treatment facilities always depends on
the financial capacities of the enterprise.
extension or construction of a sewage network in a settlement depends mostly on
the financial resources and the priority setting of the local government and
not primarily on the size of the population, or the amount and concentration of
the wastewater. Only the Sanitation-Epidemiological Inspection of the Ministry
of Health has the power to order the construction or extension of a sewage
network as well as the connection of enterprises or settlements to an existing