The Project “Remediation of historically polluted Areas in Sarkandaugava territory”, funded by the Swiss government, has come to an end

Today, on June 1, the conference, organized by the State Environmental Service and the Freeport of Riga Authority, has been held as a closing event of the Latvian-Swiss Cooperation Program individual project “Remediation of historically polluted Areas in Sarkandaugava territory”. The results of the project were briefly summed up by the Freeport of Riga Authority Environmental Service Head Vilis Avotins: “Riga port can boast another improved area, which is more environment-, people- and business-friendly territory”.

Oil pollution in the Riga port territory in Sarkandaugava was formed in the 60-70-ies of the 20th century, when the territory was run by the Soviet Army and was used for oil products storage and handling. In the National Program “Remediation of Historically Polluted Areas” the polluted territories of Sarkandaugava were ranked among the most polluted locations in Latvian territory. Prior to the project the research of the Freeport territory was carried out and according to the results there was very high groundwater pollution level within the area of almost 5.5 hectares, caused by more than thirty-year-old oil products. Floating oil layer thickness in the ground in some places reached 1.5 meters. Due to pollution inflow into the Daugava River, the Freeport of Riga Authority was forced to regularly provide collection of such unidentified (historical) pollution.  

In 2011 with the financial support of Swiss government the implementation of the project “Remediation of Historically Polluted Areas in Sarkandaugava Territory” was started with the aim to improve the groundwater, surface water, soil and ground quality, as well as to restore and improve the quality of the environment and to mitigate threats to human health.Remediation works were carried out in the areas adjacent to Milgravis channel and Sarkandaugava on the territories of the Riga port companies “OVI” LLC, “Eko Osta” LLC, “Woodison” LLC and “VL Bunkering” LLC. During six years 1,721 tons of oil products were pumped out and transferred for recovery, as well as more than 7122 tons of soil polluted by viscous and asphalt-like oil products were excavated and transferred for processing. A 376 meters long waterproof sheet piling wall and a drainage system was built along Sarkandaugava armlet bank. As for the Milgravis Channel - a 110 m long drainage system was installed there. All remediation works of 2 project stages on the territory with the total area of 8 ha have been finished by now.

Overall, 15.3 million Swiss francs were invested into the project implementation. 85% of the costs – i.e. 13 million Swiss francs, - were provided by the Swiss government.  

Today at the Freeport of Riga Authority in the framework of the closing conference dedicated to Latvian-Swiss cooperation program individual project “Remediation of historically polluted Areas in Sarkandaugava territory” local and foreign experts discussed the project implementation outcomes. The representatives of the Baltic countries and Switzerland shared their best practice experience in the remediation project implementation.