Drinking water quality raised to meet EU standards

Water supply systems in Estonia’s Kohtla-Järve area are undergoing a major renovation in a project partly funded by the EU. Once the work has been completed, it will secure EU-standard drinking water as well as a modern and reliable water supply system for 54 000 people in the north-east of the country.

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Earlier related work in this area, which started in 2002, focused on improving sewage treatment. The new five-year project concentrates on drinking water treatment and distribution.

New treatment and distribution network

The Kohtla-Järve area grew significantly in the 20th century, as a result of a boom in the oil shale industry. Today it includes a number of towns and districts spread over a large area, resulting in an extensive and relatively complex water network.

The current project will be implemented by the municipal company Järve Biopuhastus OÜ in three towns (Püssi, Kohtla-Järve, and Jõhvi) and at two intakes (Kurtna-Vasavere, Püssi). The aim is to improve the quality of water services and the environment, while providing high-quality drinking water to customers.

A former feasibility study identified several different problems with the area’s public water supply. Most importantly, the drinking water does not comply with relevant EU environmental legislation. Furthermore, the water supply networks and related equipment are unsatisfactory, reservoirs are leaking, the majority of bored well-pumping stations and heads are unsatisfactory, and there is no water treatment.

The project mainly consists of works for the renovation of ground water intake and the replacement of some 135 km of water distribution pipelines. Planners also intend to renovate and construct drinking water treatment plants, water reservoirs and bored wells. The two new water treatment plants to be built will be sited in the administrative district of Ahtme and the town of Püssi.

Water safe for all to drink

After completion of all renovation work, everybody in the service area will be connected to the drinking water network and will enjoy access to safe water resources. Significant environmental benefits are also expected from the improvement in drinking water quality, which will meet EU standards, thus helping to minimise human health risks.

Reliable and compliant water services will in turn make the Kohtla-Järve area a more attractive place for investors. The project is also expected directly to create around 250 jobs during the project’s implementation phase.

Draft date

21/02/2011