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Tuesday 07.04.2020 | Name days: Helmuts, Zina, Zinaīda

Neringa mayor: Curonian Lagoon’s pollution may reach Latvia

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Baltic Sea, sewage, treatment, Lithuania, Grigeo, Grigeo Klaipeda, pollutionIt is entirely possible that most of the untreated sewage polluting Curonian Lagoon by Grigeo Group cardboard production plant in Klaipeda has flowed deeper into the Baltic Sea, admits Mayor of Neringa Darius Jasaitis.

According to him, considering the direction of the currents, no more than one-fifth of the total pollution volume remains in the waters of the lagoon, whereas in the open see, which is a much larger body of water, pollution is more dispersed.

«As Mayor of Neringa I should be happy over this, but as a citizen of Lithuania I cannot be happy over this,» said Jasaitis. «In the end its will end up at our Latvian neighbours, because this much is decided by the currents.»

According to Jasaitis, the winds and currents in the Curonian Lagoon do not give way to concerns about pollution possibly ending up in Nida or Preila, located more to the south. However, in Smiltynė, which is opposite to Klaipeda, as well as Juodkrantė and maybe even Pervalka, where people use well water, there may be a risk.

«Ground water in Curonian Spit is nearly indistinguishable from the water in the lagoon, it is filtered through sand. Is the pollution filtered? I don’t know that – environment specialists can answer this question. They should also inform society. If there are risks, we will act if needed and analyse wells,» he promised.

The mayor admits that he cannot say if water samples have already been taken from the lagoon.

«We do not have any official beaches along the coast of the lagoon. We do not carry out studies. Whether some other institutions do that, we do not know,» adds Jasaitis.

On Tuesday, 7 January, Lithuanian office of the prosecutor has commenced an investigation against cardboard manufacturer Grigeo Klaipeda over suspicion of intentional pollution of the Curonian Lagoon with untreated sewage.

On the night to 7 January, during a large-scale operation involving environment service employees and other specialists, the company’s sewage treatment machinery was inspected at the company. Results show that there are bypasses for the disposal of untreated ground water. Most of the water ends up in the lagoon circumventing water treatment machinery.

Read also: Lithuania asks Russia to explain patrol ship’s breach of country’s border

Although Grigerio president and the biggest shareholder Gintautas Pagonis has said the ground water leak from Klaipeda company may have been the result of a technical malfunction, not intentional, Lithuanian Environment Minister Kęstutis Mažeika has called these claims cynical lies, adding that provisional information suggests the total damage caused by Grigeo Klaipeda’s untreated groundwater may reach EUR 60 million.

From Tuesday onward Grigeo Klaipeda’s sewage treatment is performed by Klaipeda water management company Klaipedos vanduo. On Wednesday, representatives of the cardboard manufacturing company informed environment protection specialists that the leaking of untreated sewage into Curonian Lagoon has ceased.

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