Municipal groundwater pollution in Moldavia
A common assumption is that Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are the only effective organisms that sustain cooperation for projects in underdeveloped countries. However, it is not entirely true. While NGOs are having an irreplaceable role in the field of development, private companies can also bring a large contribution. With Dekonta’s help – the implementation of a development project was possible in Moldavia.
Dekonta is an international provider of environmental services and technologies. Established in 1992, this is a private Czech company with a global presence. Over the years it has become one of the market leader companies in Central and Eastern Europe, offering custom-made solutions to the environmental challenges and issues from different industrial sectors.
Since 2009 Dekonta has been offering viable solutions for restoring the municipal water in areas like Lunga and Mărculeşti in Moldavia. The majority of people in those regions rely on groundwater. However, this has been contaminated with petroleum compounds ever since the Soviet occupation. Unfortunately, the smell aspect made it unsuitable for consumption but was also a major health threat using it for irrigation.
Changing people’s perception gradually
While water with a distinguished smell is undrinkable and no one present could argue this fact, there were some contaminated areas without visible signs of pollution, which led locals into becoming suspicious and sometimes even reluctant to accept decontamination projects. In those areas it was particularly challenging to raise awareness and to convince everyone that the sanitizing activities were needed.
However, with the patience and persistence of project manager, Martin Polak (Dekonta), the idea has been slowly asimilated and beneficial actions were no longer linked as intrusion. They now percieve it as a partner and appreciate the dedicated involvment that the company showed.
For the students of Development and Environmental Studies Department from Palacky University in Olomouc, Czech Republic (who organised a field trip there) this issue was obvious from the beginning.
Moldavia is one of the countries included in the beneficiary development strategy, that receive support from Official Development Assistance of the Czech Republic. Dekonta’s projects are also financially supported by Czech Development Agency – CzechAid.
Inspiring the local governments to sustain change
Convincing the local people that their health is at risk was not sufficient. The government officials needed to be reassured too. As Victor Vasiljevic Migic, the head director of Mărculești airport, told the students from the Czech Republic, he was not quite sure that the water required any decontamination process. He was highly skeptical of the project and thought it was just a waste of money. Now he is one of the biggest advocates.
Once the project was implemented, he has witnessed how much petroleum the water contained and realized the effects of a bio-hazardous place. The question is: if there was no visible pollution, how would the situation unfold?
After the fall of the Soviet Union, no sampling or laboratory testing was conducted from the contaminated area. People only evaluated the water according to smell. Once they realized that the contamination issue persists, the government sustained kerosene spill in this area. The locals pumped it from their wells and sometimes sold it on the market. It is said that some villagers “mined” up to 1 ton a day. Their ‘mining’ process, however, was not as efficient and did not guarantee pure water. Ever since Dekonta started to analyze this region, the water became cleaner and safer but it is unknown when it will be completely purified.
Martin Polak said: “Since no one knows exactly how many liters or tons have leaked into water and soil, it is hard to say how much is still existing and needs to be removed. We estimate up to 100 tons. Dekonta has been removing in the past ten years approximately 40 tons of kerosene.”
Ecological problems rooted in the Soviet Union
Soviet Union has indisputably left a vast legacy behind it. The majority of studies have focused on its political, economical and even cultural aspect. Ecological legacy, however, plays an important role, as above sources attest it.
The world is very inter-dependent: Soviet pilots have not receive ecological education due to the fact that their country was focused on establishing dominance and being caught in the Cold War context. Therefore the pilots assumed the best way to discharge the airplane petroleum was to release it in fields. The uninformed risk aspects and effects have been detrimental to people suffering consequences even today. This unfortunate situation lead to severe health problems and therefore hindering the overall development of Moldavia as a country.
The inter-dependency of the world also includes the reason why Dekonta, even though being a business enterprise, offered direct ecological support for development projects in countries found in the same situation as Moldavia (municipalities of Lunga and Mărculeşti).
Text by: Daria Riabinovitsch – IDS student at the Department of Development and Environmental Studies of Palacky University in Olomouc, Czech Republic.
Edited by Dana Cristea (Dekonta)
Note: The article and the field trip is part of the DevEd project ‘Development Cooperation First Hand’, supported by Czech Development Agency (ČRA).
Dekonta will be present at IFAT, the World’s Leading Trade Fair for Water, Sewage, Waste and Raw Materials Management.
Visit us at hall B4 stand 337. Please contact our International Business Manager Davide Messana (firstname.lastname@example.org) to schedule a meeting and receive a free ticket for the trade fair.
Dekonta’ seal of excellence by the European Commission
Our R&D team developed a new technology for the treatment of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and undesidered odours from waste air emissions. Our thermophilic bacteria are able to work under higher temperature (up to 75°) than the default 30° with an important saving on operational and investment cost (no need of cooling system). Thanks to this innovative concept, Dekonta offers a more competitive and unique portfolio for your air emission treatment. Our technology won a seal of excellence from the European Commission:
DEKONTA won a public tender of the Czech Development Agency for the implementation of the project “Capacity Building in the Field of Sound Management of Chemicals”.
The aim of this capacity building project in the field of sound management of chemicals is to increase the number of transposed EU environmental legislation into Georgian national legislation. The preparation of the legislative framework and the strengthening of the implementation and control capacities of Georgian institutions will create prerequisites for a future systemic solution for the proper management of chemicals at a standard international level in line with EU rules.
The project will outline the existing legislation and competencies of individual authorities on the management of chemical substances in Georgia, a concept for the harmonization of existing legislation with the requirements of the EU REACH and CLP regulations will be drawn up. Also a draft of Chemical Substances Act and a proposal for a methodology for effective control of obligations of these Regulations will be elaborated. Within the project, the capacity of Georgian institutions and selected groups of manufacturers, users, importers and distributors of chemicals in the area of chemical marketing will be strengthened through training and workshops.
The main subcontractor is MEDISTYL, s.r.o., and the main partners of the project in Georgia are the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture. The project was launched at the end of 2017 and should be completed by November 2020.