Bauska business caught polluting Lielupe river

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The State Environmental Service has started an administrative case regarding the disposal of polluted wastewater from one of the largest agricultural holdings of Bauska municipality – “Lielmežotne” Ltd into the river Lielupe. The infringement may pose a significant risk to the environment, Latvian Television's 4. studija reported on February 27.

LTV received a message from fishermen that smelly wastewater is being leaked into the Lielupe in Bauska municipality and the environment might be contaminated. When LTV arrived at the site, most of the damage had already been taken care of. It was obvious that there had been a dig across the field from the farm of the company “Lielmežotne,” most likely to hide the gutter. 

An investigation has already been launched by the State Environmental Service to find out how the contamination occurred and what was the cause of the specific smell.

Hardijs Verbelis, director of the State Environmental Service Zemgale Regional Environmental Management, said: “Immediately [..] we went to the site, and it was revealed that owners or employees of the “Lielmežotne” farm had in this case engaged in arbitrary construction and pulled a pipe with their wastewater to the river Lielupe.”

“Lielmežotne” explained that there was no working draining system, and after a crash, they had decided to dig into the ground a pipe that would direct the wastewater directly to Lielupe. The company's employees declined to comment in front of the camera.

It turned out that the intention to protect the area from spring floods failed when an emergency situation occurred on the cow farm. Overflowed milk-cooling tanks and some of the contents reached the base of the drainage systems that do not fulfil their function. But the “new method” worked, and pollution was released into the water of the Lielupe. A representative of the “Lielmežotne” farm conceded that up to 500 liters of milk could have been released into the river.

Environmental Service spokesman Verbelis noted: “There was a sour smell that shows some presence of milk, and water. It was not, as we say, from cattle, excuse me, the smell of shit, but the smell of some kind of milk water sediments. In order for us to understand this concentration and what is being discharged, four tests were taken, the results of which we are also looking forward to now."

Analysis and concentrations of water pollution will also determine the penalties that the business will be required to pay. The infringement is considered to be significant and an administrative infringement process has been initiated. Dairy products consume significant amounts of oxygen when entering the water, which can lead to fish suffocating.

The State Environmental Service reminds the public to report suspicious findings at 26338800 or by using the “Vides SOS” application.

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