The XX International environmental forum “Baltic Sea Day” was organized in St. Petersburg on 21–22 March 2019 bringing together more than 700 participants from the region to share experiences and practices, propose solutions and discuss current and future cooperation. Based in St. Petersburg, the event annually attracts key stakeholders from the Russian water sector, while at the same time being an important space for international discussion, this year, hosting more than 100 participants from outside of Russia.
The programme of the Baltic Sea Day 2019 addressed the matter of sustainable development of the Baltic Sea, emphasizing international cooperation and coordination through e.g. developing the Baltic Sea Action Plan and the Baltic Sea Regional Nutrient Recycling Strategy. Altogether 14 parallel meetings and roundtable discussions were organized over the first day highlighting regional trends. Among those, public attention was most turned to solutions for nutrient recycling in the wastewater sector, marine litter, coastal erosion and effects of climate change on the Baltic Sea.
The IWAMA project was presented at the event in the framework of the practical discussion on potential solutions to enhance P-recycling in the wastewater sector. This session was supported by the platform BSR WATER, with several projects alongside IWAMA contributing to the development of policy recommendations on nutrient recycling and handling hazardous substances, as well as to the expansion of expert network and exchange of practical experiences in the water sector. The session of BSR WATER aimed at presenting projects’ experiences with nutrient management and recycling possibilities, further engaging present experts in the discussion and opinion exchange.
From the IWAMA project, Taavo Tenno of University of Tartu held a presentation on approaching smart sludge management at municipal wastewater treatment plants. He presented the actions applied in the IWAMA project alongside with practical outputs that can aid the Baltic Sea Region in improving nutrient management. Special attention got the audit concept for smart sludge management that includes a self-audit tool calculating the sludge performance on the plant – WWTPs will be able to download the tool at the IWAMA website and perform such audit to detect possible spaces for improvement.
More than 60 participants joined the discussion on P-recycling actively contributing to it with questions and comments, emphasizing identification of aspects of the wastewater sector that need to be covered in the future. The session collected several practical suggestions for supporting the water sector that can be further utilized in the expansion and improvement of the Regional Nutrient Recycling Strategy developed at HELCOM.