Green Cities Fit for Life

Image by Jean-Dominique Billaud

Stockholm

Lots of Clean Water 

‘The Venice of The North’ is a term often used about the Swedish capital Stockholm, beautifully situated on the Baltic coast. Ten per cent of the city’s area is covered by water, and the many lakes and water sheds are highly valued for recreational purposes.

That is why the City Council in 2006 adopted a water protection plan setting standards for cleaner water and outlining methods to achieve this. The goal is that all waters of Stockholm should meet the requirements of the EU water directive by 2015. This should be done in a way that preserves the recreational value of the lakes, water sheds etc.

Focus on Water Quality

Already, the Stockholm City Council has done a lot to improve waste water treatment and reduce the impact from storm water. Today, the city’s waste water is treated by advanced technology before discharged in the inner part of the Stockholm archipelago – a sensitive part of the Baltic Sea. And Stockholm Water Company has improved the water quality by cutting down the discharge of phosphorous by 50 per cent kg and nitrogen by 55 per cent sine 1995

Advanced Waste Water Treatment

A state-of-the-art example of improved waste water treatment is Hammarby Sjöstad, originally pointed out as Olympic village in Stockholm’s bid for the 2004 summer Olympics. The urban area has its own waste water treatment plant built to test new and environmentally friendly technologies.

Rain water from the streets is collected, purified in a sand filter and then released into the nearby lake, instead of draining into the sewage system causing further pressure on the treatment plant. Stonecrop and sedum plants roofs help absorb rain water as do footpaths and planted trees and plants. The waste water from a single household produces sufficient biogas for the household’s gas cooker. Most of the biogas is currently used as fuel in eco-friendly cars and busses.