NURSECOAST-II project kicks off in Finland to improve Baltic Sea water quality
31 May 2023
The new Interreg project aims to improve wastewater treatment systems in coastal tourist areas to improve the health of the Baltic Sea.
The kick-off event took place in the picturesque coastal village of Barösund, located in the municipality of Inkoo. Project partners from all the partnering countries, including Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, gathered for the kick-off meeting of the NURSECOAST-II project, a collaborative initiative aimed at addressing the challenges associated with wastewater treatment systems in coastal tourist areas.
The coastal areas surrounding the Baltic Sea experience a drastic fluctuation in population, with a significant increase in visitors during the summer months. While often, the wastewater treatment facilities in these areas are designed to accommodate the needs of the sparser winter population, they often struggle to handle the surge in wastewater generated by the influx of tourists. As a result, the Baltic Sea faces issues such as pollution and unpleasant smells, also threatening the delicate marine ecosystem.
Barösund, a rapidly growing tourist destination, was ideal for the meeting. Usually, the tourist season begins when the archipelago’s ice is melting. Over the warmer period, the village becomes an attractive destination for approximately 4,000 visitors. This is why during the peak summer months, the wastewater generated in the area increases even twelvefold compared to the winter period. When we visited the village, which was even before the official start of summer, the village was already experiencing some sewage odour. Thus, the municipality of Inkoo recognizes the urgency of finding more efficient wastewater treatment solutions, including addressing the challenges posed by restaurants, e.g. their leftover grease, which is disrupting the current system.
The NURSECOAST-II project aims to seek innovative solutions to the problems faced by wastewater treatment plants dealing with varying pollution loads from tourists. The project partners will explore different technologies, including using nature-based solutions, different new wastewater treatment technologies, and reusing treated wastewater. By studying existing small-scale wastewater treatment plants, the project partners aim to gain valuable insights into the operational challenges, guide future improvements, and develop policy guidelines for wastewater treatment in tourist areas across the Baltic Sea. Read more about the project activities here.
The project’s primary beneficiaries will be the local authorities, tourism operators, and wastewater treatment plant operators, who will receive valuable knowledge and support to address their regions’ specific wastewater management needs. By implementing effective solutions, the NURSECOAST-II project aims to safeguard the Baltic Sea’s fragile ecosystem, ensuring a healthier environment for both visitors and marine life.
During the kick-off meeting in Inkoo, the project partners took the opportunity to update each other on their progress, sharing valuable insights and experiences. The focus was on discussing the status of pilot projects, exchanging ideas, and identifying best practices for effective communication throughout the project.
To better understand the local context and the challenges coastal communities face, the project partners embarked on a memorable cruise through the stunning Finnish archipelago. This unique experience allowed us to witness firsthand the region’s beauty and tourism’s potential impact on the ecosystem. By experiencing the local environment, the partners were able to grasp the complexities and nuances of the coastal areas, providing valuable context for their future work within the NURSECOAST-II project. Hopefully, the work that will be done in the project will be setting a positive example for other regions facing similar issues.
*This article was written based on the Nursecoast project’s kick-off meeting that took place in Inkoo, Finland, on May 24th and 25th, 2023.