All agreed loans

Belarus. Republic of Belarus

Date of loan: 10 Dec 2012
Country: Belarus
Customer: Republic of Belarus
Amount in EUR: EUR 25 million
Maturity: 15 years
NACE sector / loan type: Sewage and refuse disposal, sanitation and similar activities
Business area: Energy and environment

Environmental effect

This loan has a positive effect on the Baltic Sea environment: 100%

Project

The loan has been provided for the upgrade of the wastewater treatment plants in the cities of Grodno and Brest.

The NIB-financed investment programme aims to rehabilitate and increase the efficiency of the existing water and wastewater treatment systems in the cities of Grodno and Brest in western regions of Belarus. The projects for upgrading the environmental infrastructure in Grodno and Brest have been prepared in co-operation with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, under the umbrella of the Environmental Framework Facility.

Currently, due to inefficient wastewater treatment, Grodno and Brest are among the polluting hot spots included on the list of the Helsinki Commission (HELCOM). The cities discharge their treated wastewater into the rivers Neman and Bug, correspondingly, which belong to the catchment area of the Baltic Sea. After the completion of the projects, the operations of the treatment plants in these two cities are expected to fulfil the HELCOM recommendations.

Fulfilment of NIB's mandate

The implementation of the projects in Grodno and Brest has considerable importance for the health of the Baltic Sea. As a result, both cities are expected to be removed from the HELCOM hot spot list, which will contribute to the success of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Programme. The project in Grodno will have a substantial positive impact on the river Neman running through NIB’s member country Lithuania. The Neman is the 4th largest watercourse in the Baltic Sea basin.

Sustainability summary

After the project implementation the wastewater plants in Grodno and Brest will comply with the HELCOM recommendations for nutrient removal and treatment efficiency. The effect on the nutrient load from these two cities to the Baltic Sea is very significant. The removal of phosphorus and nitrogen is cost efficient.

The overall sludge treatment is not fully satisfactory and may constitute a long-term environmental risk due to possible leakage of nutrients and heavy metals into the ground waters and nearby streams. The sludge treatment in Brest will be improved by an ongoing anaerobic digester project, which is not within the scope of the NIB-financed effort. The final solution for sludge treatment in Grodno is not yet in place. The first step, dewatering and safe disposal, will be achieved with the current project but will not bring the treatment process into compliance with the EU requirements.

The municipal water utilities Brest Vodokanal and Grodno Vodokanal have adopted environmental policies and a series of principles which also cover environmental performance. They also have a certified quality management system ISO 9001, but not an environmental management system (EMS) according to ISO 14001 or other international standard.

For the projects to be performed in accordance with the Bank's environmental policy and guidelines, the requirements will be strict adherence to fulfilling the HELCOM recommendations and following the agreed Environmental and Social Action Plan.