The relaunch of the Baikalsk Pulp and Paper Mill resumes the dumping of industrial waste into Lake Baikal
Yesterday, on the 18th February, colleagues of the Regional Non-Governmental Organisation ‘Baikal Environmental Wave’ were in the town of Baikalsk to visit the site of a pool-aerator, which is discharging pollutants into Lake Baikal, and which contains deposits of waste from the Baikalsk Pulp and Paper Mill. According to received information, we are able to state that the mill is allowing for its industrial waste to flow into Lake Baikal by filtration through the groundwater: stoppers, which have existed to prevent industrial waste entering the discharge system, have been removed, and we recorded an accumulation of fluid-like industrial waste in the pit located above the tube feeding industrial waste. Work is currently underway to effectively remove all of these stoppers, which exist to separate the plant’s industrial waste from general wastewater. This work is likely to be completed at the weekend.
There is reason to believe that the BPPM does not have all the required permits and documents for the relaunch and the resultant dumping of waste into Lake Baikal. We consulted with specialists from the Baikalsk municipal waste water facility, and found out the following ; whilst BPPM was transferring to a closed sytem of water circulation, one pipe for waste water, a pond aerator and a system for the deep draining of sewage into Baikal were rented out to sewage treatment facilities in Baikalsk. Though the BPPM has informed the waste-water facility about the termination of the lease on 1st March, Irkutskenergo has informed that it will cut off the urban heat supply to waste-water facilities from March 1 as a result of debt amounting to 600 thousand roubles. At the same time, the BPPM is 2 million rubles in debt to these very same waste water facilities.
Thus, in order for the plant to be relaunched, it is possible that the new municipal sewage treatment facility in Baikalsk will be closed, despite the fact that it was created using funds from the federal and regional budgets directed towards various programs aimed at the transformation of the BPPM, and is responsible for effectively clearing the municipal waste water of Baikalsk’s inhabitants. It is also completely self-sustainable (operating without state subsidies) and employs 70 Baikalsk residents. Such developments will allow the Baikalsk Plant to operate indefinitely, and will again make local residents completely dependent upon the Mill.
Irkutsk Regional Non-Governenmental Organisation ‘Baikal Environmental Wave’ press service, 19/02/10