Better treatment for St Petersburg – at last!

Two decades after construction first began on the St Petersburg South West Wastewater Treatment Plant, consulting engineers, Black & Veatch, have successfully mobilized the long-overdue design-build contract in under two years. Mike Walsh chief engineer at Black & Veatch reports on the most important environmental project in the Baltic Sea area.

Construction of the St Petersburg South West Wastewater Treatment Plant (SWWWTP) is expected to reach completion in autumn 2005.

The works will significantly reduce direct discharge pollution into the Gulf of Finland from over 500,000 of the 4.6 million inhabitants of the Russian Federation’s second largest city. With major new housing developments set to increase the population served by the works from 590,000 to 713,000 in less than five years, the project is truly vital.

Funding stalled works

Construction of the SWWWTP commenced in 1987, with commissioning planned for 1992. However, lack of funding slowed down the works, which were effectively stopped altogether in 1995 with just less than half of the construction completed.

In 1993, Vodokanal of St Petersburg commissioned YIT Corporation of Finland to review the development of the SWWWTP and incorporate changes in wastewater and sludge treatment to meet the requirements of the Helsinki Commission (HELCOM), the governing body of the ‘Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea’.

It was proposed that provision for a doubling of the plant’s 250,000 m3/day capacity be built into the plans. A preliminary design was completed, but the implementation of the project was not possible – again because of the non-availability of funding.

Further studies and planning for a Long-term Water Sector Development Programme took place in 1997, and in 2000, the Pre-investment Feasibility Study was prepared under the Tacis Interstate Programme. Upon completion of these studies, a task force was established to prepare a financially feasible investment project to complete the SWWWTP.

Comprising Vodokanal of St Petersburg, the Nordic Investment Bank and Nordic donor agencies, the task force concluded that existing, partially constructed structures could be utilized in the final application. The study also noted that SWWWTP’s design capacity of 330,000 m3/d would enable the closure of Krasnoselskaya WWTP immediately after SWWWTP’s completion.

Project on track

Total investment costs for Phase 1 (including network investments) were estimated at about US$110 million (at mid-2000 cost level), with annual operating costs estimated at US$3.8 million.

One of the main objectives of the completion of SWWWTP was achieved with the closure of the major direct discharge points at pumping station No.1 and at Krasnoselskaya WWTP, which, in 1999 for example, discharged about 240,000 m3/d. The project included the disposal pipeline between the treatment works and the Gulf of Finland where the effluent is to be discharged. The project has also involved work on the influent pipelines which will deliver the sewage to the treatment works and an incineration plant for dealing with the dewatered sludge.

The design-build contract authorised construction of the SWWWTP to begin on 31 December 2002 with a 31-month construction period.

Civil works and installation of process equipment is almost complete. Procurement of equipment through donor-funded contracts has proved to be very challenging, nevertheless, all equipment supply contracts have been awarded

and take-over of the works is expected by early October 2005. The estimated cost is within the €128 million budget.

In addition to carrying out engineering duties and responsibilities during the construction of the works, Black & Veatch will supervise all tests on completion, and the employer’s take-over of the plant. The consulting engineers will also supervise the tests after completion, and undertake inspections and supervision of remedying of defects during the defects notification period.

Project stakeholders

City of St Petersburg, Vodokanal of St Petersburg, SWTP Construction OY, Nordic Environment Finance Corporation, Nordvod (LLC), Nordic Investment Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, European Investment Bank, Finnish Ministry of the Environment, Tacis Programme, Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership.

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