Good news for the residents of vratimov! The sludge from former paper mills is gone!

7. 11. 2018 - Kateřina Kodadová

The Moravian-Silesian regional administration has finally managed to sort out a long-lasting environmental issue. The residents of Vratimov and the environment have been bearing the brunt of hazardous waste without any one owning it for several years; now no more! Over 7,000 tonnes of sludge has been removed from Vratimov and the last step before the case can be closed is to examine the underlying soil that held the waste.

‘We decided to take matters into our own hands after all efforts to reach an agreement with Vratimov failed. The waste material just could not stay on the premises of the former paper mills any longer, but it was impossible to cover the CZK 40 million cost of remediation from the regional budget; so, we had to seek help from the government. We truly and deeply appreciate the outcome of our negotiations and the fact that the government decided to support us in the form of a subsidy from the State Environmental Fund of the Czech Republic. We allocated over CZK 8 million from the regional budget and issued a tender for selecting a suitable contractor,’ said Ivo Vondrák, Governor of the Moravian-Silesian region. He also added that the waste removal works started at the beginning of August. ‘I am glad that we managed to meet the deadline and the huge ugly pile is gone. Now, it is necessary to check whether the waste did not contaminate the underlying soil over all those years. The employees of an accredited laboratory collected samples today and in three weeks we will know whether it will be necessary to conduct additional remediation. We are not expecting any unpleasant surprises,’ said Ivo Vondrák.

The Regional Governor, Ivo Vondrák, Deputy Regional Governor for Environment, Jarmila Uvírová, representatives of The Czech Environmental Inspectorate and the Ministry of Environment of the Czech Republic, the technical construction supervisor, and representatives of the contractor, SUEZ Využití zdrojů a.s. and AVE CZ odpadové hospodářství s.r.o. were all present during the final site inspection meeting. ‘All works were carried out as expected and in compliance with the approved final project as confirmed during every inspection day. We consider removal of this Vratimov environmental burden as an important step towards improving the quality of life in the region. We look at the project not only as the contractor but also as a company that operates and employs people here in the Ostrava region,’ said Lubomír Jati, representative of SUEZ Využití zdrojů a.s., adding that currently more than two thirds of the waste had already been treated. All waste will be treated within the specified deadline.

The waste was transported in containers designated for such type of material. In total, 7,410 tonnes of material has been extracted. We couldn't allow the sludge to end up in some intermediate landfill somewhere and damage the environment of that place as well. The majority of waste was transported by trains directly to the gasworks in Vřesová, where it was used to produce electricity. Only a small portion of the material, 1,818 tonnes to be exact, ended up in an industrial waste incinerator in Ostrava. It was an oversized material, which due to its coarser structure requires different technology for treatment than is available in the gasworks in Vřesová,’explained the Deputy Regional Governor for Environment, Jarmila Uvírová.

Soil samples collected during the last site inspection meeting will be processed by the accredited laboratory ALS Czech Republic. The expert report will be available at the end of November, at the latest, and it is expected to show whether additional remediation will need to be carried out.