Nearly half of Liepāja's canal historic pollution removed

Liepaja has managed to clean up nearly half of the contaminated Karosta (Naval Port) Canal. For more than 30 years, cleaning up the canal has been a big challenge. Research work has been underway since the early 90 s and the contaminated canal bed is gradually being cleared, Latvian Radio reported January 4.

The 3rd round of the Karosta Canal environmental rehabilitation project, which is being implemented by the Liepāja Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Board by mobilizing the resources of the Norwegian Financial Mechanism, is currently closing.

The third round of the project has allowed further reduction of contaminated areas in the Karosta Canal. Now it is possible to look back at what has been done, said Ivo Koliņš, project manager of Liepaja SEZ.

“146 thousand cubic meters of contaminated materials containing a total of around 298 tonnes of various hazardous substances have been removed, including petroleum products, heavy metals, and so on. [..] A total of about 72 hectares have been polluted. We're talking about some 40% here,” Koliņš said.

Just over half of the Karosta Canal remains uncleaned, so the main focus is on the part of the canal where economic activity is carried out, Koliņš said.

The Karosta Canal has been cleaned several times, but contaminated material has been deposited behind a specially designed groove wall, the capacity of which has not yet been exhausted. The first round of Karosta Canal Cleanup was launched as early as 2014.

On this occasion, the Karosta Canal treatment carried out by SIA “Port of Eko” cost approximately EUR 3.5 million and was supported by the Norwegian financial instrument. The total cost of the project exceeds EUR 5 million.

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