The republic’s key challenges include the cleanup of Samosyrovo’s landfill and Pobedilovo’s sludge mines, stated Tatarstan Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Alexander Shadrikov at Realnoe Vremyas web conference. Cleanup of the Volga River is a major task. The river water level has been steadily rising in recent years, according the Tatarstan environmental arm. They must also deal with local problems, and their cost is comparable for large projects: The reconstruction of the dam near Nizhnekamsk cost almost a billion rubles, while it will take at least a third to clean the Melekeska River, Naberezhnye Chelny, at least a quarter of a million.
Remediation of Samosyrovo landfills and Pobedilovo Sludge Pits
The Samosyrovo Landfill, a large black spot in Kazan that has bothered our citizens for many, years, was designated by the environment ministry as an important environmental issue of Tatarstan. The landfill revegetation was one the first pilot degasation projects in Russia, and it was initiated by Tatarstan President RustamMinnikhanov. Later, Tatneft joined the project.
The Environment national project and its programme The Clean Country helped to launch the Samosyrovo landfill vegetation project in 2021. The project is estimated to cost 890 million Rubles. Alexander Shadrikov announced that 298million rubles will be used for the first stage of this year’s works during Realnoe Vremyas’ online conference. The work is already in progress.
The minister referred to sludge pits in Pobedilovo as the second most serious environmental problem. Their remediation is also a pilot program, which is very complicated. 100 hectares of land will need to be remedied. After two years’ of research, the technology that was needed was found.
The pits will then be dehydrated and disinfected with reagents. Heavy metals will be removed and stabilized. The most important thing is that the place will not be used as a landfill. It is possible to make it a recreational area in the future, according to the head of Environment Ministry.
The water quality of the Volga River has improved over the past three years
In Tatarstan, this year is the last year of a landfill revegetation plan in Prosti Village, Nizhnekamsk district. The landfill was still burning when it was first started, and was a topic of great interest to both citizens as well as the mass media, the minister acknowledged. It was difficult.
We met with villagers who told us that there were springs here before rubber goods were thrown here. They also said there was a river with fish. Minister claimed that today, clean water has returned and springs have been re-established after the revegetation.
Shadrikov pointed out that the landfill had a negative effect on the river and the environment around Nizhnekamsks. Today, the problem is solved. The gully was improved. All rubber goods were taken for recycling and not dug out and buried.
Another important task is to rebuild and construct treatment facilities within Volga River Rehabilitation National Project. While 12 facilities of this type have been constructed, the most difficult part of the project is the reconstruction and construction of Kazan’s treatment facilities. They account for 64% all sewage in Tatarstan waters. In 2020, only two districts were renamed, and they were the ones with the highest efficacy of treatment facilities. However, water quality has improved in the last three year. Minister Alexander Shadrikov refers to data from 271 sensors located in 69 Tatarstan water bodies, and information about laboratories certified under the environment ministry.
Three years ago, we saw analytics: the water quality has improved. Many people claim that the water quality has declined and there have been fewer fish, but the RealnoeVremyas interlocutor pointed out.
He stated that the Tatarstan Ministry of Environment aids in legal action against recalcitrant offenders when it comes to the control of waterbodies.
Reconstruction of Nizhnekamsk dam for billion
Numerous enterprises commit repeated violations. Alexander Shadrikov specifically named Archa company from Baltasi district. It is a butter and dairy factory that pollutes the Shoshma river near Karelino village in Baltasi District.
In 2020, Tatarstan spent 11,5 billion rubles on environmental projects. This includes federal and republican budgets. Shadrikov states that Tatarstan enterprises invested 6 billion rubles to fund measures to reduce the negative environmental impacts. Tatarstan is the leader in investments in environmental projects in Volga regions.
TAIF and Tatneft are two examples of such companies that made a major contribution. Municipalities did their part. Minister said that this was how we solved the Nizhnekamsk District dam problem by reconstructing the dam at 2,107m in Krasny Klyuch settlement. The water complex development programme received more than 900million rubles from the Federal Agency for Water Resources.
It was possible to maintain water levels in Kuybyshev Reservoir
Tatarstan must also address the water level in Kuybyshev Reservoir and other Volga regions. This must be done amid discontent among Tatarstan citizens living in riverside Kazan districts. A very low river level this year has led to fish mortality.
Our Russian Ministry of Environment colleagues said that everyone tells truth: The Lower Volga River tells its truth, but the Middle Volga River is just as truthful, the minister pointed out. We all have our own problems: who needs more water?
The Kuybyshev Reservoir is located in five of the five regions of the Middle Volga River. The Lower Volga River contains the regions that have access to the Caspian Sea, which includes Astrakhan Oblast. The Volga-Kama cascade is a network water stations. The Kuybyshev Reservoir is only a small part of this network.
The drought in 2021 was similar to that of 2010. (Editor’s note: the water level was lower than 49 metres back then). Although we can see a stable water level at Kuybyshev Reservoir in August, the Tatarstan government’s head of the environmental arm disagreed with the public. The Baltic Elevation System shows that the current level of our water reservoir stands at 50 metres 11 centimetres. This level is not crucial.
Now it is time to maintain this level by accumulating as much water as possible before spring with its field work. It is also essential to regulate the Kuybyshev reservoir’s water level. Tatarstan does not need it. Today Tatarstan is in agreement with the four other regions Ulyanovsk Oblast Mari El Samara Oblast Chuvashia and Samara Oblast about its decision regarding the water level. This is part of the intergovernmental group of Federal Agency for Water Resources.
This problem is not uncommon. These are the joys. The minister stated that a common decision is needed.
It is necessary to reserve land with springs
Tatarstan is responsible for controlling groundwater sources as well as the treatment of small rivers. These springs are plentiful, with the most important being in Zelenodolsk District. These springs are first and foremost considered as reserves by the Kazan urban agglomeration.
Drinking water must be more valuable than it is, and one cannot neglect it. It must be preserved, warns the Tatarstan environment minister. It is essential to reserve land and to set aside plots that have drinking water deposits. [prohibiting construction there].
This is not something everyone understands. Shadrikov gave an example: A municipality decided recently to build an industrial park in an area with a potable water supply. The minister pointed out that the district had declared this area an industrial territory despite this.
The Environment national project’s Federal Unique Water Sites Programme is responsible for the treatment and maintenance of small Tatarstan rivers. This program will clean the bottom of the Melekeska River, in the middle of Naberezhnye Chelny. Since 2021, several similar projects have been implemented in the republic to clean tributaries as well as rivers from rushes. The total cost of these works is 200 millions rubles. Another project is the cleanup of Mamadysh District’s Vyatka Rivers tributary. Two projects have been completed in Nikolskoye, and Derzhavino villages of Laishevo District. Both Laishevo project are complete. In 2022, the water bodies will need to be stocked only with fish.
We all know the current state of the Melekeska River. It was a result of manmade factors. It is all our fault. It is urgent to take action. The river measures 4,6 kilometers long. We are now preparing financing for 2022-2023.
The cost of cleaning up the river alone is estimated at 308 million rubles
Sergey Afanasyev. Photo: Maxim Platonov