Jānis Šire, the administrative manager of the “LIFE” project “GoodWater IP”, explained to the program (above) that nine locations have been identified where it is planned to improve water quality.
There are four river basins in the territory of Latvia: the Lielupe, Daugava, Gauja and Venta rivers, and management plans have been developed for each basin area, which include information on both the water status and potential sources of pollution and what needs to be done to reduce existing pollution.
Under the LIFE project GoodWater IP , nine sites have been targeted for good water quality: Lakes Sauka, Lubāns and Pape, as well as in the rivers Aģe, Mergupe, Slocene, Auce, Eda and Zana.
In each of these areas, the reasons for the deterioration of water quality will be sought and solutions found to improve quality.
Poor water quality can be caused by various factors including use of agricultural chemicals, forestry activities, industrial pollution and the use of hydropower.
When collecting samples in ditches flowing into the Aģe River, a very high level of contaminated wastewater was found. It turns out that it came from a slaughterhouse that puts untreated industrial wastewater into the ditches.
Obsolete wastewater treatment systems are becoming a similar source of point pollution, with rapidly-expanding districts overburdening out-of-date sewerage systems.
"The main problems caused by point source pollution from domestic wastewater treatment plants are related to the increased amount of nutrients - nitrogen and phosphorus pollution. It promotes river overgrowth, eutrophication. Accordingly, the native species in the river are being destroyed and, in general, the river ecosystem is being negatively affected,” said Elīna Konstantinova, an expert from the Baltijas krasti (Baltic Coasts) association.
It is hoped that in 5-10 years' time, by the end of the LIFE project "GoodWater IP", good quality will be achieved in 35 water bodies.
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