At the 2009 Kemira Baltic Sea Summit in Helsinki, Finland, Kemira announced it had signed a Baltic Sea Commitment to Act.

The Commitment to Act was initiated by the Finnish Baltic Sea Action Group (BSAG), a neutral organisation founded in March 2008 for the rescue of the Baltic Sea. Kemira’s business activities are playing a direct role in decreasing the wastewater load in the Baltic Sea. A significant share of the communities and cities within the Baltic Sea watershed clean their wastewater using chemicals supplied by Kemira.

In its Commitment to Act, Kemira commits to lend its expertise and research efforts to returning sludge-borne valuable nutrients, nitrogen and phosphorus, safely into the natural cycle without causing eutrophication in waterways. At the moment, the Baltic Sea Action Group is assembling a set of concrete actions to save the Baltic Sea, which is the most polluted sea in the world. All results of these commitments will be evaluated in the Baltic Sea Action Summit in Helsinki, Finland in February 2010.

“All wastewater treatment produces sludge. The more efficient the wastewater treatment, the greater the sludge disposal, and sludge disposal is a growing problem,” explains Kemira’s water segment general manager, Aija Jantunen. “Without their controlled return to nature, the nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) in sludge can drift back and eutrophicate waterways, or accumulate in landfills.

Kemira can make such sludge both hygienic and odorless, after which the sludge can be used in enhancing crop production in a safe manner. In Finland, sludge treated using Kemira’s Kemicond method is accepted as such as a method of soil improvement. We have also developed a preliminary treatment method for controlling the heavy metal contents of sludge disposal, in cases where they restrict sludge use. In the Nordic countries, the heavy metal contents of municipal sludge are not a problem.”

The Kemira Baltic Sea Summit focused on ongoing projects and concrete, planned actions concerning wastewater treatment in the Baltic Sea catchment area. Over 100 participants and speakers represented financial institutions and environmental authorities, including participants at ministerial level, from water works and different organizations.

Kemira aims to be a key player and participant contributing to a cleaner future for the Baltic Sea. As part of its commitment to this, Kemira is participating in joint research projects related to water treatment, such as the Water Program for 2008-2012 launched by the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation (TEKES). Kemira is also one of the main sponsors of the Helsinki Festival, with the Baltic Sea as a special theme.