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THE NEVA PROJECT: SITE 3

Ecology of the Izhora River

The Izhora River serves many economic purposes. A number of factories for both heavy and light industry, as well as agricultural concerns, draw on its waters and discharge a variety of pollutants into the river. At the same time, the river has important recreational value for amateur fishing and for sanatoria and childrens’ camps located along its banks.

The Kolpinsky District, centered on the town of Kolpino on the right bank of the Izhora, is an industrial suburb of St. Petersburg with a population of about 180,000.

The largest enterprise in the district is the Izhorsky Factory, which began as a shipbuilding factory in the eighteenth century and has gone on to produce equipment for heavy industry, transportation and agriculture, specializing now in supplying equipment for nuclear plants. In addition to the Izhorsky Factory, the district houses dozens of other industrial plants.

The Kolpinsky district has had a history of poor air and water quality. Air quality has improved significantly since the early 1990’s, partly as a result of reduced rates of industrial production during the Russian economic crisis but also due to concerted efforts to control emissions. The volume of harmful substances released into the atmosphere from industrial enterprises in the district declined from 28,000 tons in 1990 to 8,000 tons in 2000.The complex air pollution index in this district is now 5.63; this is much lower than the average for St. Petersburg (9.85) and for other districts closer to the city, such as Kalininsky (17.0), Krasnoselsky (11.0), Frunzensky (10.86), and Vassileostrovsky (10.46). The most significant air pollutants in the Kolpinsky district are nitrogen dioxide, dust and phenol.
The Neva, Izhora, and Slavianka rivers and their tributaries flow through the Kolpinsky district, with a total water surface area of about 4,43 km2. . Based on the Water Pollution Index (WPI), the quality of these waters ranges from class IV (polluted) to class VI (very dirty). At its mouth the Izhora has shown stable measures of class IV quality in recent years.

 
Water quality (WPI/Class) of the rivers Neva (in St-Petersburg)and Izhora (in Ust-Izhora)
Rivers
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
2000
2001
Neva
1.81/
III
1.90/
III
3.26/
IV
3.34/
IV
3.47/
IV
3.26/
IV
2.49/
IV
2.84/
IV
2.54/
IV
2.55/
IV
2.78/
IV
Izhora
3.07/
IV
2.29/
IV
6.94/
VI
3.54/
IV
3.13/
IV
3.59/
IV
2.90/
IV
3.58/
IV
3.21/
IV
2.72/
IV
2.75/
IV
* In 1999 WPI was not calculated by the authorities due to a insufficient number of observations

The waters of the Izhora influence water quality in the Neva, which registers its highest levels of organic pollution, oil products, and nitrite nitrogen just downstream from Ust-Izhora. Many enterprises have made efforts in recent years to recycle waste water and the Izhorsky Factory stopped discharging industrial waste into the Izhora altogether. Still, water quality remains poor, mainly due to runoff from cattle-breeding ranches and other agricultural enterprises located upstream from Kolpino. Hazardous levels of coliform bacteria in the water have led to the closing of beaches in Kolpino. As with industrial wastes, there have been concerted efforts in the last ten years to reduce levels of bacteria, which have declined significantly. Nevertheless, the Izhora is a severely degraded river, and the slow process of regenerating water ecosystems can take decades.

 
Further topics and interdisciplinary essays
Trade and culture

Ust-Izhora geography

Ust-Izhora History
Ust-Izhora Ecology

References and links

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