Wastewater treatment in Nordic Arctic Areas; Northern Norway, Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland – is it sufficient?

The discharge of wastewater from the areas of the Nordic Arctic has not been regarded as a big issue as the recipient has been large, an approach which is reflected in EU regulation in terms like “Less sensitive areas”. However, as the populations grow and the nature of the wastewater changes the assumption that the recipient may be regarded as unaffected or affected to a limited degree may be wrong.

The project brings together representatives from those responsible for wastewater treatment in the northern part of Norway, Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland. This group will function as a forum for knowhow exchange and it will steer the project with assistance from people with expertise in environmental pollution issues. The project aims at describing to what extent the present level of wastewater treatment is sufficient in order to protect the marine environment. This will be elucidated by performing analyses of samples from the recipients at various distances from the discharge points and at various seasons.

Key findings from the project were published in the report Micropollutants in wastewater in four Arctic cities - is the treatment sufficient? The report contains the results of chemical analysis in Tromsö, Tórshavn, Reykjavík and Sisimut, and assesses ways to enhance wastewater treatment in the four cities.

Applicant: Environment Agency, Faroe Islands

Countries: Faroe Islands, Norway, Iceland, Greenland

Project start 2013, expected to be finalized in 2015.

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