The remediation of the Sovjak pit in Croatia, a natural rock formation where the oil industry and other companies had deposited around 150,000 m3 of hazardous waste by 1990, is close to being realized, after the signing of the agreement securing the financing from EU funds for the project worth around EUR 50 million.
The agreement which secures the financing of the treatment of Sovjak, around 6 km away from Rijeka, by the EU was signed by Croatian Minister of Environmental Protection and Energy Tomislav Coric and representatives of the Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund (EPEEF), which will finance 15% of the project, whereas 85% comes from EU funds.
The works will include the excavation of floating hydrocarbons, transportation and incineration outside Croatia, the excavation of sediment/tar, on-site pre-treatment with lime, transportation and incineration outside Croatia, and complete backfill and closure with a top drainage system, according to a statement from the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Energy.
Contractor to be required to observe tight protection measures
International tendering will be launched for these complex works, which are to be carried out in close proximity of people’s homes, said EPEEF Director Dubravko Ponos, noting that the future contractor will be required to observe tight protection measures, local media reported.
– Communication with residents will be intensified and they will be informed continuously about the progress of the remediation. We are aware that they will shoulder the biggest burden of the remediation project and we therefore want to be open and available for all their questions – Ponos said.
The works will begin after the public procurement and the selection of the contractor are completed, in the second half of 2019 or in early 2020, and should wrap up by the end of 2023.
The Sovjak pit, which operated as a landfill for toxic industrial waste for more than 30 years until 1990, has been designated one of Croatia’s six environmental “black spots.” The contaminants it contains include oil and tar products, giving it its black appearance, while vapors are said to create a stench forcing people to keep their windows closed during the summer months.
Croatia has EUR 475 million from the EU funds at its disposal for waste management projects in the 2017-2022 period.