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Research and information on water purification by means of constructed wetlands (BIOPLATOS) in the Ukraine, supported by studies in Estonia, the Netherlands and Sweden


Foreseen Results

The current project proposal aims at rebuilding or restoring the experimental bioplatos (and if necessary at constructing new ones). The main objective is to come to ecologically sound, effective water purifications (for waste as well as for drinking water). The programme will capitalize on research achievements, techniques and expertise obtained in the Ukraine in the past as well as in other regions. In this respect, studies conducted in Estonia (at the University of Tartu) on the use of a large variety of constructed wetlands for waste water purification are of special interest. The problems which are encountered in Estonia in connection with water pollutions, particularly the release of toxic compounds by industries, are very similar to those in the Ukraine. The ecological engineering techniques practiced in Estonia include various types of bioplatos. However, lack of funds is also a serious constraint on research in Estonia. Additional support for the proposed research programme will be provided by Finnish institutions (VTT Communities and Infrastructure and the West Finland Regional Environment Centre). This will concern the effect of bioplatos on the nutrient level in the water and the development of mathematical models to forecast hydrological and ecological processes in waterbodies where these ecological engineering techniques are practiced. Furthermore, assistance will be provided by the University of Uppsala (in cooperation with the Uppsala Environmental Protection Office) in Sweden regarding water quality research with emphasis on toxic substances, and the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) in the Netherlands in connection with aquatic plant management and information systems. Exchange of material and information between all partners will also be fostered by regular scientific contacts and meetings. In addition, training workshops will be held for staff of the CEC/NIS partner institutes. Project management will be by the KIT in the Netherlands, an institute which has successfully coordinated several EU funded projects.
Water pollution is a major problem in the Ukraine. An unbridled disposal of sewage, industrial waste products and run-off from agricultural areas into the main rivers has created conditions which are harmful to the environment and hazardous to human health. Eventually, this polluted water flows into the Black Sea which is considered one of the most endangered ecosystems in Eastern Europe. Iin this context an additional problem is the availability of drinking water. In various regions of the Ukraine it is hardly feasible to purify water in accordance with public health standards. This applies in particular to the Kharkov urban area which depends for its drinking water supply on the Dnipro-Donbass canal. This 150 km long canal is connected with the river Dnipr. To alleviate the negative effects of water pollution in the Dnipro-Donbass canal, the Kharkov State Urban Academy started a research programme on water purification by means of aquatic plants in the 1980s. They are planted in shallow water to form constructed wetlands, generally called bioplatos. The flow of polluted water is channelled through these constructed wetlands which take up nutrients, facilitate denitrification, create conditions favourable for absorption of particles by the bottom, and trap suspended materials. Due to financial constraints the research programme had to be be discontinued and the bioplatos, which had been constructed so far, were largely neglected. An additional problem for researchers in the Ukraine, as well as in other CEC/NIS countries, is that international contacts and access to literature have been minimal.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen
1092 AD Amsterdam

Participants (5)

Kharkov State Urban Academy
12,Revolutzii Street
310002 Kharkov
Technical Research Centre of Finland
90571 Oulu
Vanemuise Street 46
51014 Tartu
Uppsala University
752 36 Uppsala
West Finland Regional Environment Centre
65101 Vaasa