Returning to What Was Printed:
Don't Drink Water From the Inzer!

Biological Clean-Up Work At Beloretsk-15

Beloretsk BELORETSKIY RABOCHIY, 7 Aug 93 p 1
by G. Sitdikova, people's deputy of the Republic of Bashkortostan

A. Urtsev's article, "Is Everything Lost?" published in the newspaper BELORETSKIY RABOCHIY for 4 July of this year, prompted me to take pen in hand. The author attempts, using the words of the construction supervisor for the compounds of Beloretsk-15 and Beloretsk-16, to draw an idyllic picture suggesting that the environmental-protection facilities built there are unequalled in terms of treatment quality anywhere in our immediate vicinity.

Perhaps L.A. Tsirkunov is right in asserting that there are no such treatment facilities anywhere else. But in the opposite sense of his assertion. As proof, allow me to cite some statements from the report drawn up on 9 June 1993 by A.T. Kotov, deputy chairman of the Republic of Bashkortostan Supreme Soviet's commission on ecology and rational utilization of natural resources and a people's deputy of the Republic of Bashkortostan; the author of this article, G.R. Sitdikova, people's deputy of the Republic of Bashkortostan; and V.I. Chukkuridi, chief of the State Inspectorate for Water Resources Protection of the Republic of Bashkortostan State Environmental Protection Committee. People's deputy L.A. Tsirkunov, the construction supervisor, was present as the report was being compiled, as was A.V. Averin, the enterprise's chief engineer. As readers know, that commission visited the installation on Mount Yamantau last year, after which the findings of a study of background radiation at the compound were made public in the press. The commission stated unambiguously that the installation posed no radiation hazard. But is the situation on "Bad Mountain" (that is how the Bashkir "Yamantau" translates) really that favorable? Let us return to the aforementioned document, which was confirmed with the signatures of all the commission members (I will cite it word for word):

"2. On the Operation of the Biological Treatment Facilities at Beloretsk-16. The biological treatment facilities, having a capacity of 20,000 cubic meters per day, were placed in operation in August 1991, as noted in the report, dated 29 June 1991, of a state commission chaired by L.A. Tsirkunov. Agencies of the Republic of Bashkortostan State Environmental Protection Committee did not participate in the commission.

"Between 8,000 and 10,000 cubic meters are being treated daily.

"The following shortcomings were discovered as of the inspection:

" 1. Silt concentration in the dry matter in the aeration tanks is not being ascertained, and silt content by volume exceeds the standard by 10 times and more;

" 2. The secondary sedimentation tanks are failing to perform their functions due to faulty operation of the system designed to draw off excess silt. The silt is undergoing decay and giving off methane;

" 3. The quality of treated water after the secondary sedimentation tanks is identical to the flow entering the facility without treatment, and on some days significantly worse (see the data of the sanitary-epidemiological laboratory for 19 May 1993; oxidizability at intake was 12 milligrams per liter, and at outlet 22 milligrams per liter).

"Instead of nitrification, denitrification is taking place.

"The supplementary treatment equipment is not operational because the tank seals are not air-tight.

"3. On the Operation of the Biological Treatment Facilities at Beloretsk-15. The biological treatment facilities, having a capacity of 2,800 cubic meters per day, are taking in 4,300 cubic meters per day for treatment, including 1,800 cubic meters of industrial wastes per day and 2,500 cubic meters of household fecal material per day. 'Bioponds' are used for supplementary treatment of the wastes."

To put it very simply, the facility whose construction swallowed up millions of rubles and whose upkeep and labor costs are considerable to this day is operating without any benefit! Moreover, it sometimes releases water that is significantly worse than the water entering the facility! What's more, the facilities under construction at Beloretsk-16 are of the same design, and so we needn't expect any clean water there either!

And so, dear compatriots, don't drink water from the Inzer if you don't want to play the role of a treatment facility.