Ecologists’ meeting in Nizhnekamsk: factories report on how they improve environment

Complaints about the quality of air reduced sixfold in the city. Nizhnekamskneftekhim is called the most open enterprise

“Tatarstan annually allocated 11,5 billion rubles on environmental protection measures, of which 6,6 billion are factories’ investments. These are huge numbers,” noted Tatarstan Minister of Environment Alexander Shadrikov at a meeting in Nizhnekamsk where ecologists and managers of enterprises gathered at one table. As it turned out at the meeting, Nizhnekamsk citizens started to complain about the quality of air, while the number of complaints about Vodokanal water supply service whose sewage is above the allowed amount of harmful substances, in contrast, rose — 250 sewage tanks are still abandoned.

Air quality under special control

67 organisations are located on the territory of the Nizhnekamsk Industrial Hub alone. Gross emissions of enterprises in Nizhnekamsk Municipal District total 18% across the republic. Despite the launch of new plants and a rise in production capacities, citizens talk about emissions less. If 533 complaints about the quality of air were received from the population in 2019, in 2020, there were 86 complaints.

“Nizhnekamskneftekhim, TANECO, TAIF-NK take a lot of environmental protection measures, people should know this. We have said many times that a billion rubles means nothing. But when we say that there are six times fewer complaints, this already means a lot,” Tatarstan Minister of Environment Alexander Shadrikov stressed.

Today companies focus not only on the economy but also commit themselves to improving the quality of air. According to him, Nizhnekamskneftekhim is now the only enterprise to send them results of air samples in real time mode.

“Nizhnekamskneftekhim is today the first enterprise to become open. We receive data on air from its territory online around the clock,” he stressed.

Also, it was noted at the meeting that in 20 years the petrochemists had spent over 13 billion rubles on environmental protection. Last year, 52 measures for 1 billion 989 million rubles were financed. There are a lot of plans ahead.

“We planned the first reconstruction stage of the Biological Treatment Facilities, reconstruction of the industrial sewage landfill, started the construction of the 4th line of the water pipeline, local treatment facilities to treat chemically contaminated sewage from the isoprene plant. The design and detail documentation of remediation of sludge tanks near Borki village was created,” said the director general of Nizhnekamskneftekhim.

Also, as Safin noted, it is planned to launch a unique sludge drying unit for its further combustion in the new ethylene complex, which is under construction.

“We want to use the technology in the new EP-600 project, and if we can we want to use it in sludge tanks. It is the first pilot project in the Russian Federation in general,” the director general stressed.

This idea interested the Tatarstan ecology minister. Shadrikov noted that the republic also looked for technologies to get rid of sludge and asked Nizhnekamskneftekhim to help ecologists to solve this problem.

Talking about the air monitoring system, Ayrat Safin noted that 5 automatic air control posts were installed in the enterprise. There is also control on the borders of sanitary and protection zones and it is carried out by a mobile environmental post. Every Nizhnekamsk citizen can see the data.

Urban sewage above the norm

Ayrat Safin touched on the operation of the Biological Treatment Facilities. According to him, the urban sewage from Vodokanal water supply service arrives with contaminants ten times above the norm. Due to this Nizhnekamskneftekhim is imposed fines. He also warned that according to the law the user can pay for the losses. By the way, VK and EKH company already has a debt of over 150 million rubles.

“Nizhnekamskneftekhim cannot remain the only participant in this issue. I am asking to sort this issue out. The problem isn’t solved,” Ayrat Safin addressed the audience.

Director General of Vodokanal Ildar Nurtdinov said that the urban water supply system needed a major overhaul. About 1,5 billion rubles are needed for modernisation. It is necessary to attract federal and republican programmes. In his opinion, the problem of contaminants in the sewage above the norm can be solved in two ways neither the ecologists nor the petrochemists agreed with.

“The established norms signed by the city’s Executive Committee don’t correspond to real sewage indicators the population and other enterprises dispose of. We can do nothing. I see two solutions to the problem. Firstly, to adopt real figures and consider the available data. They won’t change,” said Ildar Nurtdinov.

“No philosophy, please,” the Tatarstan ecology minister interrupted him.

“The second way is to build Nizhnekamsk’s own treatment facilities and refuse Nizhnekamskneftekhim’s services,” the head of Vodokanal concluded.

Tatarstan Ecology Minister Alexander Shadrikov wasn’t happy with this answer. According to him, it is necessary to find and punish illegal users. A job is done in this area, but there is no result yet.

“It is necessary to examine abandoned tanks and the territory of BSI area. According to our data, some enterprises produce, dispose of who knows what there. It is necessary to find our who uses them and impose sanctions. I am asking to take this under special control and provide me information next time,” he said.

Creation of unified air monitoring system

The quality of sewage became one of the key themes of a report delivered by Director General of TAIF-NK Maxim Novikov. Five years ago, a local industrial sewage treatment shop was launched in the company. The works cost a total of 3,7 billion rubles.

“As a result of the reconstruction, river water consumption has reduced by 10 million cubic metres in the last five years. But it is little to launch a facility, it is necessary to maintain its service. The enterprise replaced 864 pieces of membrane ultrafiltration modules for over 195 million rubles. The oil refinery mastered a technology using phenol sewage from Petrol Plant in the wash water used for electric desalination of oil, for another 103 million rubles,” Novikov said.

According to him, since 2006, TAIF-NK JSC has cut emissions by 33%. This has become possible thanks to the modernisation of production capacities, launch of the latest eco-friendly equipment. A steam recuperation system catching hydrocarbons and returning them into production.

Modern treatment facilities were built at TANECO oil refinery. 100% of treated sewage returns to production. The enterprise has smokeless flares and steam recuperation in railway and truck loading.

“Flares of new units built in 2021 are equipped with automatic emission quality measurement systems, 121 million rubles were allocated for this. A new mobile environmental post for 25 million was purchased,” said Ilshat Salikhov, director general of TANECO JSC.

“It is necessary to tell the population about environmental protection measures in enterprises more often, to sit down at the table together and discuss arising issues. We can improve Nizhnekamsk citizens’ quality of life only with joint effort,” stressed Tatarstan Ministry of Environment Alexander Shadrikov.

Closing the meeting, he asked directors of enterprises to join the work to create a unified automatic air monitoring system on the territory of the industrial zone to track every source of emission. The republic will own the system, money for its creation has already been transferred.

Liliya Yegorova. Photo courtesy of Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC

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