St. Petersburg: Poo by the sea?

Illustration: The route of the GPS-trackers that were put into toilets of Nova Devatkino

Eco-activists in the St. Petersburg suburban town Novo Devatkino claim that local faeces, flushed down by toilets, turn up untreated in surface waters. The civilians, who are paying for waste water treatment, carried out an experiment by using GPS-trackers. Their sensors tracked down the route of the faeces in the sewing system. One destination is a small creek nearby Novo Devatkino, causing bad odours. Moreover, the GPS-trackers turned up on several locations in the Finnish Gulf.

Local Russian water authorities claim that no untreated waste water flushed into the surface waters. About 98 percent of the waste water is purified on multi-level and disinfected as well. They state that the experiment was not carried out properly. The authorities tried to get in touch with the eco-activists, but they refused. One of the initiators of the experiment, Evgenya Dolgova said she is getting tired of all the fuzz in the media. The data reflect the situation of their local community and not the city of St. Peterburg, she says. She reconfirms that the experiment was carried out properly and the sensors, provided by a Chinese manufacturer free of charge, did their job. “If the water authorities want to check out, they’d better come over here and smell for themselves”, she says.

The experiment caused commotion in St. Petersburg and Finland, as several St. Peterburg suburbs are not connected to the sewage system as well. The Russian neighbour state invested millions in the Russian waste water treatment in order to keep the Finnish Gulf clean.

The results of the Nova Devatkino experiment are presented on the website