Lahti, one of the five shortlisted finalists for the 2019 European Green Capital Award, will present its long-term approach to water conservation and the latest results of an international wastewater research project in the Blue is the New Green seminar in Brussels on Thursday 11 May.
Organised by the City of Lahti, the event will be attended by Jyrki Katainen, Vice-President of the European Commission, Jari Leppä, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, and Sirpa Pietikäinen, Member of the European Parliament. Lahti's environmental know-how and targets will be presented by Juha Rostedt, Chairman of the City Board of Lahti, Saara Vauramo, Environmental Director, Ismo Malin, Manager of Water Conservation, and Jukka Pellinen, Docent at the University of Helsinki. Representatives of the European Commission and Parliament have been invited to attend the seminar.
The conservation of Lake Vesijärvi brought environmental research to the Lahti region
The restoration of Lake Vesijärvi began with the start-up of the Kariniemi wastewater treatment plant in 1976. The decisive step in the successful restoration of Lake Vesijärvi was a biomanipulation project that attracted international attention in 1987–1994. The second stage of restoration began in 2001, as a joint effort between the City of Lahti and its neighbouring municipalities, the University of Helsinki and the Lake Vesijärvi Foundation.
Research on Lake Vesijärvi created the basis for a broad range of environmental research in the region by the University of Helsinki's Department of Environmental Sciences. Today, the Vesijärvi programme is mainly funded by the City of Lahti with an annual allocation of EUR 250,000, but also by other municipalities, businesses and private individuals.
Groundwater is a competitive factor
Lahti is situated on the Salpausselkä terminal moraine formation, which is an important groundwater source in terms of both area and yield. The groundwater level is permanent and the water supply good. The City of Lahti is continuing its goal-oriented efforts to protect its groundwater, which in some areas contains solvents, heavy metals, de-icing salt and biocides. A regional groundwater conservation programme has been drawn up to protect and further improve the quality of groundwater.
Lahti Aqua Ltd is a water and wastewater services company wholly owned by the City of Lahti. Lahti uses its own groundwater as a source of drinking water. Lahti is also home to various industrial firms that need high-quality water for their production.
Reducing the wastewater load
The University of Helsinki is currently investigating the analytics and most effective treatment methods for wastewater containing compounds of human origin, such as medicinal substances. Since 2015, wastewater hygienisation performed by Lahti Aqua has significantly decreased the bacterial loading of the Porvoonjoki River. New research methods and technological opportunities for wastewater treatment will be presented in the Blue is the New Green seminar in Brussels.
Ismo Malin, Manager of Water Conservation, tel. +358 50 525 9579
Saara Vauramo, Environmental Director, tel. +358 44 716 1585