"News of the Ladoga region" on project KA6000

Submitted by KA6000 on 17.02.2021 - 07.59
ladoga news

A weekly printed newspaper "News of the Ladoga region" that is disseminated in Sortavala, Lahdenpohja, Pitkaranta and Olonets districts as well as in the city of Petrozavodsk, published an article on the background and achievements of project KA6000. Find the translation below.

There will be clean water in our city

No one can argue with the truth that "Water is life", and the purity of water directly affects the quality of life. Water in the supply system of the city of Sortavala has been causing complaints of residents for its color for thirty years, and even earlier – for its periodic absence.

Let's go deeper into the history of the issue. In the eighties of the last century, the water intake was hastily organized in Soikkasenlahti Bay, a shallow part of Hiidenselka Bay, on the site of an existing water pump to periodically replenish the catastrophically shallow lake Helmijärvi. Since the 20s of the last century, this lake was used for water supply to the city of Sortavala, the number of inhabitants at that time was 8,000 people. In the post-war period, the number of residents of the city increased was approaching 30,000.

Already since the sixties a decrease in the level of lake Helmijärvi was observed.  To maintain it, a pumping station was built on the Bank of Ladoga, but neither it nor the 6,000 cubic meters of clean water tanks built in 1983 changed the situation, the city did not have enough water.
In these difficult conditions, it was decided to move the water intake to lake Ladoga. Additional rooms were added to the existing pumping station and more powerful pumps were installed, and a water supply section was added from the station to Ladoga to the main water supply coming from lake Helmijärvi in
the city. The volume of water has become sufficient, but the quality has significantly deteriorated.

And there were objective reasons for this. There were no sources of pollution on the shores of the lake, just the mountain lake Helmijärvi was formed on the site of the crater of an ancient volcano, and the replenishment of water in it came from atmospheric precipitation and groundwater.

In addition, a new water intake location appeared near the confluence of the Bay of lake Ladoga river Helylanjoki (Kiteenjoki and Tokhmajoki after merging in Helyla settlement). The water in the river has a special color, which is due to the high iron content and contamination of water masses with swamp humus during floods in spring and autumn. And, despite the fact that the chemical and bacteriological indicators of the quality of our drinking water are within sanitary standards (except for the iron content), it is still not pleasant to drink it and use it for cooking.

Water intake on the shore of Soikkasenlahti bay was considered as a temporary one, and it was planned to build a new one in the "near future" with a pumping
station of the first lift and a water treatment plant in the village of Lahdenkyla. The project documentation was developed and construction began, but the country entered the difficult time of perestroika... and the "near future" did not come.

Employees and management of Vodokanal, constantly criticized (to put it mildly) for the quality of drinking water in the city water supply, in theory saw clearly what to do, but it was absolutely unclear where to get money for construction of the necessary objects. The planned economy suddenly ceased to exist, and there was no money in the city, in the Republic, or in the Russian Federation.

Under these survival conditions, there was also a serious black hole. Outdoor water supply systems did not hold water at all, and the volume of water in the city again was not sufficient. This problem had to be solved immediately, and here unexpected circumstances helped Vodokanal employees.

Thanks to the newly built highway Sortavala-Niirala in 1993, the city was visited by colleagues from the water utility company of Joensuu. No one understands your problems better than your colleague, and it doesn't matter what language they speak. To the credit of the management of the Joensuu water utility, the Finns not only understood everything, but also began to help in everything they could, including introducing new materials, best technologies and efficient methods of maintenance and repair.

Finnish experience of using plastic pipes instead of steel pipes for water supply and the method of replacing street water pipes by dragging a new plastic pipe through a defective steel one allowed not to dig up the repaired sections of the streets. This technology has significantly reduced costs.

For several years in a row, looking for any available means, Vodokanal had been replacing pipes on the networks. Of the 70 kilometers of street water supply networks, 36 kilometers have been replaced. Thanks to this, we have long forgotten about long-term planned water shutdowns.

But the issue of water quality hung thick in the air, and the hope to solve this issue sometime did not leave the management of Vodokanal and the district administration. They appealed to the government of the Republic Karelia with a request to allocate funds for hydrochemical studies of water in the Hiidenselka Bay in order to determine the most promising site for the construction of a new water intake. In 2002-2003, these studies were conducted by the Hydrochemical research laboratory of the Institute of water problems of the North, KC RAS. A promising site 500 meters from the shore was located, where, in a deep crevice, the impact of the river and Ladoga storms on water quality was minimal. The results of these studies were put to use only in 10 years.

And here again, not without luck. In 2006, international agreements were signed between The Russian Federation and the European Union to establish and implement cross-border cooperation Programmes. On the territory of the Republic of Karelia, cross-border cooperation between Finland and Russia was implemented through Karelia programs of social, cultural and environmental significance. Vodokanal management decided to participate in the first application round of the KareliaENPI 2007-2014 Programme. It was difficult to complete this task without partners with international experience, if you do not have English-speaking employees (documents are prepared in English).

ANO Energy Efficiency Centre submitted an application form for the implementation of the KA 198 project "upport to sustainable development of Sortavala town for the improvement of environmental situation". It successfully passed two rounds of selection by the monitoring Committee of the Programme. During this period, the Vodokanal underwent structural changes, and the management of a new enterprise Karelvodokanal LLC was actively involved in the implementation of the KA 198 project. A technical survey of the city's water supply and sanitation systems was carried out, and a plan was developed for priority water supply measures to obtain high-quality drinking water and proper sanitation to improve the environmental situation in the town.

As part of the project, design and estimate documentation was developed for the construction of a new water intake in the depth of the Bay Hiidenselka in a complex with a new pumping station of the first lift and a water treatment facilityn. It was also planned to reconstruct the pumping station of the second lift with clean water tanks. Project documentation was developed in 2012-2013. The cost of the project was 10 million rubles, including six million rubles from the Programme budget, and four million received at the expense of the budget loan allocated by the Republic Karelia. The leading partner of the project was Finnish company JSC "Tehnoredactor", and partners Karelvodokanal LLC, ANO EEC and the Administration of Sortavala urban settlement (The head of the settlement S. N. Kozigon).

 

Based on the project documentation in December 2013 the Ministry of construction, housing and utilities and energy Republic Karelia prepared and approved the "Investment programme for modernization of municipal infrastructure of water supply and sanitation for 2014-2021". It was supposed to be financed from the program budget "Preparation and celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Republic Karelia". However it didn't work out...

In looking for funding for construction of infrastructure that the city needed, Karelvodokanal LLC has prepared an application for a new cross-border cooperation Programme "Karelia CBC 2014-2020", but now for an investment project. By terms and conditions of the Programme, the partners participating in the project provide 10 % project budget using their own funds. For an investment project with a budget of 4.0 million EUR, for a district water utility company, their own contribution in the amount of 400 thousand euros is an incomprehensible and unrealistic amount. And here the Government of the Republic of Karelia supported the actions of Karelvodokanal with their letter of guarantee.

Implementation of the KA 6000 project "Water supply and water treatment facilities improvement in Sortavala" began in December 2018. Until the summer of 2019 , Karelvodokanal updated the project documentation, developed working drawings, and reworked documentation and held a competition for contract work. And in July 2019 , work on the facilities began.

Practically at the same time, reconstruction of the pumping station of the second lift was started and works on the construction of a receiving well of the pumping station of the first lift began on the shore of the Bay Hiidenselka. In the process of dismantling the pumping equipment and pipelines of the pumping station of the second lift , it became clear, that the Soviet -era building is in disrepair and requires urgent major repairs. Karelvodokanal had to find the means and opportunities to repair the roof, load-bearing structures, change floors that have served their time, and insulate the building. Along with the repair of building structures , new equipment was installed. Now the latest modular automated pumping station is installed in the building. It occupies a much smaller area, but, most importantly, the equipment it is energy efficient. Its operation requires minimal maintenance: it is automated and can be operated remotely. It also provides for remote submission of possible alarm signals, both from the operating station, and from fire extinguishing and protection systems.

The new water intake in combination with the pumping station of the first lift is perhaps the main component of the water supply system in terms of importance and complexity. It is designed as a well 10 meters deep, which is connected to gravity pipelines laid along the bottom of the lake from water intake heads. Pipelines between the lake and the well form a system of communicating users blood vessels. Thus, water from the depth will flow by gravity into the well to submerged pumps, which will pump this water to the existing main water supply system and then to the city.

On the construction site of the receiving well of the first lift pumping station the contractor carried out works on concreting the walls of the receiving well and lowering them by excavating the ground from the inside of the well. The walls (concrete rings with a diameter of 6,8 m) were filled in four stages. Lowering the fourth fill was the longest and most difficult. The well is located on the rocky ground.  Because the rock is monolithic, and it had to be blown up (little by little and very carefully), and the well was constantly seeping ground water (bottom of the well was 3 meters below the water level in lake Ladoga), but the builders successfully coped with the task.

In the end of summer In 2019 , a large area of rubble was laid down in the Bay's water area to install water intake heads. The location of this site corresponded to the optimal water intake location, determined back in 2002. Before laying pipelines in the summer of 2020 this site it was supposed to stabilize after the work of divers, and in the spring of 2020 it was planned to install a concrete slab with water intake headers. The plate was reinforced and cast on the shore, the headers were mounted on it and then carefully transported to the installation site by floating cranes and submerged.

In autumn of 2019, specialists of the company and the contractor organization traveled to Finland, where they learned  to weld right on the construction site, install pipelines with the use of weights and temporary floaters for placing pipelines on the water surface.

Everything they was very useful in the summer of 2020 when gravity pipelines were installed. Pipelines were welded on the shore, cylindrical loads and floats were fixed in the form of 200-liter plastic sealed barrels, and the pipes were carefully moved into the reservoir by an excavator. Until all the work was done, the pipes floated very picturesquely in the water area. One end of the pipes it was fixed near the headers, and the other one was connected through a specially dug temporary channel to the pipes of the receiving well. And only after the floaters were carefully removed , and the pipes were lowered under the weight of the cargo on the base prepared by divers. At the moment, the gravity pipelines are fully installed and connected to the water intakes and receiving well.  

It is planned to start up a new water intake at the end of this spring, and the water treatment plant will be ready by mid -summer. The construction of the water treatment plant is financed from the Federal target program "Clean water" of the national project"Ecology" at the expense of the Federal and Republican budgets. This is the Republic's contribution to the international project KA 6000 "Water supply and water treatment facilities improvement in Sortavala".

A facility is being built for the water treatment plant next to the pumping station of the second lift and clean water reservoirs. A contract for the purchase of equipment has already been signed. Ten state-of-the-art continuous filters with contact coagulation will purify water to sanitary requirements for all chemical and organoleptic parameters. Decontamination of purified water from bacterial contamination is planned to be carried out in two stages: first by ultraviolet radiation, then with a solution of sodium hypochlorite (from secondary contamination).

The company's specialists are confident that the water treatment plant will  operate successfully. Two filters of a similar design have been successfully operating at the Helmijärvi water treatment pumping station since 2001. There are no more such stations anywhere in  Karelia, and maybe even in the North-West.

It should be noted that unlike large cities, where water is consumed by millions of residents and hundreds of thousands of large and small businesses, which means that there is a cost reduction effect due to volume, in our small town of Sortavala, we need technical solutions that are relatively inexpensive and highly efficient.

For OKarelvodokanal this is a huge experience. A complex multi-dimensional project requires constant attention, selection of reliable contractors , and deep knowledge of more than just the project itself  in matters of water supply, but also in construction, selection of new equipment. The project is constantly being refined and improved , because time waits for no one, and what was effective in 2013 is already outdated or not relevant at the moment. 

Therefore, it is impossible to realize such a colossal task as a complete modernization of the water supply system without employees with extensive experience, deep knowledge, a constant desire to learn new things and look for effective solutions, attracting funding by participating in all possible programs.

Well, today we can say that project "Clean water" is practically implemented, and we all have very little time left to wait for this clean water.

For Karelvodokanal employees , the road to clean water turned out to be a long one: at least three generations have been steadily moving along it. And we are grateful to them!

Source - News of the Ladoga region