Me and my sea have a wonderful relationship – but it has to be nursed
Detailed description of the Good Practice
An excess flow of nutrients deriving from unsatisfactorily treated household waste water contributes to the bad aquatic environment in the Baltic Sea. In addition to this waste water from leisure boats that is discharged straight into the sea contributes to the eutrophication and may have significant effects especially in shallow areas with low rates of water circulation. The project Act4myBalticSea offers practical information, advice and solutions to handle these problems.
Objectives of the Good Practice
to encourage house-owners to invest in environmentally sound waste water treatment equipment, boat owners to use existing facilities, and marinas to install more facilities.
Participants of the Good Practice
The project is a cooperation between the Swedish municipalities Norrtälje and Östhammar, City of Uusikaupunki in Finland, and Pihtla municipality in Estonia. The Erken Laboratory of Uppsala University and Kuressaare College of Tallinn University of Technology also take part in the project.
Target group of the Good Practice
Funding of the Good Practice
Act4myBaltic Sea is a part of the EU Archipelago and Islands Sub-Programme of the Central Baltic INTERREG IV A Programme 2007–2013, and runs from May 2010 throughout December 2012.
More Details of the Good Practice
In Sweden, Finland and Estonia, approximately 20% of the households are not connected to a municipal waste water treatment system. It is estimated that these households discharge similar quantities of over-loading nutrients as the majority of the households connected to the municipal grid. Through the project, hundreds of house-owners will be reached and encouraged to invest in environmentally sound waste water treatment equipment.
Throughout the archipelago there are several facilities available for emptying of toilet waste, as well as some of the marinas are equipped with pump-out facilities aimed at receiving waste water from leisure boat lavatory tanks. An increased use of these facilities would contribute to an improvement of the aquatic environment. The project partners of Act4MyBaltcSea encourage boat owners to use existing facilities, and marinas to install more facilities.
Water quality monitoring through automatic measurements
In several shallow bays of the Baltic the natural cycles have been disturbed. Better information about the environmental status of the coastal waters may contribute to increased environmental awareness and improved public behavior. As part of the Act4MyBaltcSea project, equipment has been placed in three bays of the inner archipelago to measure the actual aquatic situation. Hopefully, an improvement of the natural cycles in the inner archipelago will also be detected. The parameters that will be measured are mainly: Temperature, turbidity, nitrate, dissolved organic carbon, total organic carbon and chlorophyll a (green algal pigment).
The so-called Spectrolyser probe, the measuring unit in the automatic monitoring stations, is set to measure four water quality parameters. By measuring absorbance at different wavelengths, and calibrate the result to values determined by ordinary laboratory analyses, different parameters can be monitored. The equipment is set to measure turbidity, dissolved organic carbon (DOC), total organic carbon (TOC), and nitrate.
Turbidity is a measure of particles suspended in the water column. This includes resuspended sediment particles as well as particles transported by inflowing water. Also phytoplankton is included in the turbidity measure. Turbidity is partly a measure of transparency. Transparency is also dependent of dissolved matters not included in the turbidity measurement. The brown color often present in the water is due to humid substances that are measured, as DOC, while phytoplankton and other organic particles also are included in TOC.
The effects of eutrophication, such as algal blooms, are maintained by the availability of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus. Nitrogen is mainly available to the phytoplankton production as nitrate. The concentration of nitrate usually decline to zero at the end of spring –nitrate limits the phytoplankton spring bloom. If the nitrate concentration remains at low level at summer, but available phosphorus is present together with calm and sunny summer days, the stage is set for summer blooms of nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria (blue-green alga).
Project Manager Teresia Wengström,
Data sources and references
Baltic Cities Environmental Bulletin 2/2011