Does EPS pollute the Sava River in Serbia?

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While the State Audit Institution claims that the Electric Power Company of Serbia releases waste water into the Sava River without treatment, the company emphasizes that its quality is monitored regularly, and the expert public emphasizes that the authorities can and should easily determine who is telling the truth in this matter.

The public company Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS) did not build a wastewater treatment plant “Termoelektrana Nikola Tesla B” (TENT B), so the wastewater is discharged into the Sava without treatment and is a risk to the environment, the State Audit Institution (DRI) warned recently.

The state auditors stated in the report on the feasibility audit of the “Management of Industrial Wastewater” that EPS, i.e. “TENT A” and “TENT B”, did not continuously examine the quality parameters of waste water and their impact on the environment.

It was pointed out that “TENT A” did not replace the old technology of hydraulic transport of “rare” suspension of ash and water, with technology that would reduce water pollution.

The biggest polluters are industrial and communal waste water that is discharged directly into waterways without prior treatment, and where industrial water can be particularly dangerous due to the toxic substances they contain – said the president of DRI Duško Pejović at the presentation of the report.

In response to the report of the State Audit Institution on waste water treatment, EPS announced that the quality of surface and underground water in the vicinity of the “Nikola Tesla B” Thermal Power Plant has been monitored regularly since 1983.

Control of the quality of waste water in TENT B and its impact on water receivers and groundwater is done four times a year, except for the return cooling water, which is analyzed once a month.

All these tests are carried out by legal entities authorized by the competent ministry and they independently sample the waste water at the outlet, take the sample to the laboratory for examination of the legally prescribed parameters, after which they issue a report.

All analyzes indicate that the operation of TENT B does not affect the quality of the Sava River and that the quality of the river upstream and downstream of the thermal power plant is in a good ecological status, according to the EPS announcement.

Officials in that company point out that the published SAI report did not state that this conclusion refers to the only case that waste water testing was not performed three times due to difficulties with the public procurement procedure, which was announced within the legal deadline.

– Elektroprivreda Srbije is not the largest generator of industrial wastewater in the Republic of Serbia, and the public should know that it is primarily cooling wastewater that is used in a closed pipe system without the use of any chemicals, that is, it does not belong to chemical-technological wastewater. All of this is confirmed in the “Environmental Impact Assessment Study of the found condition at the location of the Nikola Tesla B TPP from September 2022, which was carried out by “Energoprojekt Entel”. In that study, it is stated that the analysis of the examined parameters in samples of the Sava before and after the inflow of waste water does not indicate a significant impact of waste water on the quality of the Sava River and that the examined water course of the Sava belongs to a good ecological status (class II) – they claim in the EPS, adding that based on the results obtained.

In EPS, they say that every year in January they submit reports on waste water testing to the competent state bodies, more precisely to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the Public Water Company Srbijavode, and the Water Directorate of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management.

– The SAI report does not mention that according to Article 98 of the Law on Water, the deadline for the wastewater treatment plant in TENT B to start operating is December 31, 2025. We would like to point out that EPS initiated the project, which is currently in the stage of drafting the project documentation, the planned budget is 10.5 million euros from JP EPS’s own funds, and during February a request for a construction permit will be submitted – concludes EPS.

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