As a result of the research, it turned out that over the past 5 years the cumulative waste disposal of Baikal pulp and paper mill (BPPM) didn’t show signs of significant reduction of dangerous emissions. This was announced on January 16, 2019, according to the press service of the RG “Ekologiya” company. A few months ago, they carefully studied the composition and state of emissions in the Baikal paper mill waste tanks, and in January a waste report was prepared. Another type of emissions was also identified. It was sludge lignin, which has already been included in the Federal Waste Classifier (FWC).
Last year, another agreement was signed between the Ministry of Natural Resources and environmentalists of the Irkutsk Region and Rusgeology, according to which Rusgeology will prepare a new project for the disposal of harmful waste accumulated as a result of BPPM activities. For this purpose, an additional study was conducted on the composition and amount of waste in the tanks, since even within a single tank the chemical composition was not homogeneous. Among other things, Rusgeology analyzed the class of waste hazard and included this information into their reports.
In the autumn of 2018, liquid and solid waste emissions from ten waste tanks were delivered to Metrology and Testing Centre in the Siberian Federal District for further research. Elena Pavlyukova, Head of the Center, said: “We took samples and carried out waste studies on 10 tanks. Laboratory analyses showed that the sludge lignin in the tanks corresponds mainly to the fourth class of hazard and there is no five class waste.”
«Of course, we are a little disappointed that a significant reduction in the class of hazard did not occur naturally. We thought that after half a century nature would independently reduce the toxicity of sludge-lignin and ash. But, at that time, there was no clear evaluation of the danger posed by the components inside of the waste tanks. And now we don’t have any data to compare these numbers with»
Elena Pavlyukova, Head of the Centre for the Siberian Federal District, explained that the laboratory did not have the necessary modern equipment and accurate evaluation methods that exist today.
«About 20 to 30 years ago, we did not have the required laboratory equipment. For this reason, such studies were not conducted. Only in 2013, together with the Investigation Committee, we began to work with BPPM waste tanks. At that time, we took 1 or 2 samples of sludge-lignin from the tanks. Recent studies have been more meticulous, as now samples have been taken from different depths and from each tank. And the parameters, for example, on toxicity and on metals in waste have not changed much since 2013.»
According to officially confirmed data, the BPPM waste storage tanks have been filled with 14 types of waste for half a century, including ash and slag waste resulting from the combustion of coal at thermal power plants, sludge-lignin, tree bark, and municipal solid waste.