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Vapo’s water treatment enhancement programme started up as planned

Vapo produces peat at over 400 bogs. The water treatment level is currently being raised at around 50 peatlands. Additionally, the existing structures are being improved at around 30 peatlands. These measures affect a total of over 4,000 hectares. In addition, permit decisions are being awaited for water treatment improvement measures for 30 sites or around 1,800 hectares. 

The main focus in the 2012 programme is on constructing overland flow fields and wetland vegetation. Putting in wetland vegetation involves earthworks and planting the vegetation. Water is only let into to these wetlands when the surface has plant coverage. Currently around 30 overland flow fields are under construction and further investments mean that construction will start at new sites as quickly as possible once the plans have been drawn up and approval has been gained from the authorities. 

According to Vapo’s CEO Tomi Yli-Kyyny, customers and the public at large have given a very positive welcome to Vapo’s voluntary investments to improve water treatment. However, there has also been speculation in public whether it’s all just an image-boosting campaign. 

“Over the next three years we will invest a total of over EUR 30 million in water treatment, in addition to which we will probably have to close up to 2,000 hectares of bogs that still have peat in them. The value of this energy is another EUR 30 million. Our experience shows that enhanced water treatment can reduce the emissions from peat production by as much as tens of per cent, Yli-Kyyny says. 

Negotiations with the state to sell or exchange peatlands with a significant natural value have also progressed in a positive spirit and we believe that we will reach agreement on the first sites this year, Yli-Kyyny says. 

During the winter Vapo has installed 7 continuous meters, as planned, which are currently being calibrated. The flow rate and load data recorded by these will be sent to the authorities and also published on the company’s website as from this production season. The persons responsible for all peatlands were published on the company’s new website in mid-April.

 During the winter and spring the company has held training sessions for contractors, their employees, and Vapo’s staff – a total of 3,800 persons. This means the entire production chain will be properly trained to meet the company’s published responsibility commitments. As part of its enhanced self-controls, Vapo will employ 30 persons during the summer to inspect and report regularly on the functioning of water treatment systems at production areas. 

Share of flood period load from peat production lower than during the summer

As part of the TASO project, the flow rate from rivers and streams into Kyyjärvi lake and the suspended solid and humus load entering the lake were measured on 12 July 2011. The summer measurement indicated that Vapo’s share of the humus flowing into Kyyjärvi on 12 July 2011 was 2.7%. The measurement was repeated during the flood period on 26 April 2012, when Vapo’s share of the humus load was 2.39%.

On 12 July 2011 the discharge from Vapo’s peat production areas into Kyyjärvi was 8,700 m3/day and in the measurement on 26 April 2012 it was 171,158 m3/day. The flow rate from Vapo’s peat production bogs corresponded to 2.53% of the water flowing into Kyyjärvi (6,757,950 m3/day). Correspondingly, Vapo’s share of the suspended solid load in Kyyjärvi was 1.39%. 

Corresponding measurements were made on 27-28 April 2012 of the load impact from Vapo’s peat production areas flowing into Siikavesi lake via Kälkäjoki river. In these measurements the share from Vapo’s peat production bogs of the total flow rate in Kälkäjoki before Siikavesi was 2.24%, Vapo’s production bogs accounted for 1.79% of the humus flowing into Siikavesi via Kälkäjoki and 0.3% of the suspended solids flowing into Siikavesi from Kälkäjoki. 

The measurements were performed by Saloy Ltd. A representative of the environment authorities also participated in the measurements.