CONTAMINATION OF WATER SUPPLY RESERVOIRS IN THE TEMPORARILY OCCUPIED TERRITORIES OF DONETSK AND LUHANSK OBLASTS POSES A RISK FOR 300 000 CITIZENS
Since late 2019, as a result of the criminal negligence of the Russian occupation administrations in the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts, the work of two water supply reservoirs has been disrupted and caused their contamination, which created a direct risk to the lives and health of hundreds of thousands of citizens, as well as to the local ecosystem.
According to the available information, in the temporarily occupied areas of Donetsk Oblast as a result of long uncontrolled discharge of untreated wastewater from the mine "Bulavynska" (property of the so-called "Donbasuhlerestructuryzatsia"; is under liquidation) to Volyntsevske water supply reservoir (located east of the Yenakiieve), a significant violation of hygienic and environmental indicators are recorded.
Specifically, the norms on maximum allowable concentration of oil products in water were exceeded by 6 times, nitrates by 5.7 times, sulphates by 3.5 times, zinc by almost 4 times, and the like.
Volyntsevske water supply reservoir is used as a source of drinking water for the cities Yenakiieve, Debaltsevo, Shakhtarsk, Chystiakovo (previously known as Torez) and other settlements, where over 300 000 persons are residing. The occupation administration is aware of the issue, but does not take adequate measures.
Since the beginning of the year, contaminated mine effluents have replaced about 25% of the water in the reservoir. Given that the filtration stations of the reservoir are not designed to treat water with such sanitary and chemical indicators, if the tendency continues, it will become completely unusable by the end of 2020.
For the time being, water intake from Volyntsevske water supply reservoir is temporarily suspended, water for consumption is supplied from the canal "Seversky Donets-Donbas". However, soon the situation may get out of control, as the canal needs regular cleaning and scheduled repairs. Occupational "authorities" will start to supply people with contaminated water.
Concurrently, a risk of extinction of the river "Bila" and Isakov reservoir (located east of Alchevsk) appeared in the occupied area of Luhansk Oblast.
After the shutdown of the drainage complex of the mine "Slovianoserbska", as a result of economic activity of Alchevsk Iron and Steel Works (so-called Branch No. 12 registered in South Ossetia JSC "Vneshtorhservis", which exercises control over the assets in the temporarily occupied part of Donbas in the interests of the Russian Federation), the work-life balance of the reservoir was disrupted. In particular, during 2019, water intake for Alchevsk Iron and Steel Works needs exceeded mine water intake by 5 million cubic meters. Shallowing of the reservoir and the river "Bila" has already been recorded.
According to the results of the monitoring and sampling conducted in late March 2020, the water quality in Isakov reservoir was reduced from "moderately contaminated" to "contaminated".
The plans of Alchevsk Iron and Steel Works' supervisors to increase water production and intake for technical needs will lead to destruction of both the river and the reservoir.
“The Ministry for Reintegration considers this to be a confirmation of the predatory actions of the occupying state, which mercilessly exploits the occupied territory, creating risks for people, environment and destroying the possibility of development of the Alchevsk-Perevalsk agglomeration and adjacent areas in a strategic perspective. We appeal to international organizations within the established mandate to verify these facts and take measures to respond,” stressed Davyd Makarian, Deputy Minister for Reintegration of the Temporary Occupied Territories.