Kuldīga gets to the bottom of its sewage pollution problem

For several years, water quality in Kuldīga has been deteriorating at the Venta hub, where the official beach is located. This year, the Blue Flag will not be raised at the beach, even though the water tests are currently good and bathing is allowed, Latvian Radio reports May 22.

To look for the reasons why analyses last year showed too high a number of enterococci, the municipality started looking for sources of pollution and surveyed properties not connected to the centralized sewerage system. Work with residents will continue this year.

A house owner, who was interviewed by the municipal police and the environmental officer, explains that he also has a sewerage pit next to his house and plans to connect it to the centralized system in the future; the project has already been agreed on. Next door, municipal police officers find a sewerage pipe in the ditch.

The owner of this house is not at home. This location is relatively close to the river Venta. So far no one has been fined and clarification work is ongoing. Inete Meiere, Deputy Chief of the Kuldīga Municipal Police, says that last year a survey of private properties in Kuldīga was already carried out:

"Together with the environmental specialist Inta Putniņa, we surveyed various addresses where the decentralized sewerage system is not organized, we regularly went to the addresses in the evenings, we talked to people that they have to get their decentralised sewerage system sorted out."

The situation varies, said Meiere, there are both responsive people and less interested ones, so this year, in cooperation with "Kuldīga Water", it will be necessary to find out what to do with those who have not been willing to sort out the sewerage system.

"For those who have to be reprimanded repeatedly, we will be forced to start administrative proceedings," says Meiere.

There are several hundred addresses in Kuldīga that are not connected to either decentralized or centralized sewerage systems, but the number of people wanting to clean up their properties has increased significantly in the last year.

"By comparison, 175 new decentralised sewerage systems have been registered in 2023, 25 this year and 30 to 70 in previous years," says Inta Putniņa, environment expert. Dace Jansone, environmental specialist at Kuldīga municipality, added: to track the quality of the water at the bathing site at the Venta hub, analyses will be carried out twice a month this year. The river is polluted not only by sewage from backyards and small gardens, but also by fertilizers used in agriculture. In recent years, the river has been experiencing lower water levels, which has contributed to the deterioration in water quality. Even now, the water level has already dropped.

"Thank God, the winter was rich in snow and ice, which also cleaned the water bed, also to our benefit for bathing. Last year there was also the cleaning of the Venta, where the water plants above and below the hub were removed, the mirror surface is bigger, so the current in the bathing area is also bigger," says Jansone.

The analyses are now good and bathing is now allowed in the official bathing area in the Venta at the hub. 

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