Remediation of historically polluted sites

Project completed

Switzerland is supporting a project aimed at improvement and partial restoration of soil, ground, ground water and surface water quality in the industrial port of Riga (the area of Sarkandaugava).

Country/region Period Budget
11.10.2010 - 31.12.2011
CHF  13’000’000

The “Sarkandaugava” site has been used for the transport and storage of petroleum products (diesel, gasoline and in some cases kerosene) when the operator of the territory was the Soviet Union Army. During decades, the pollution was spread in the ground, groundwater, and surface waters. The pollution is close to the Daugava river - a river that discharges into the Baltic Sea - and poses a danger to the nearby population.


The overall goal of the project is to improve the soil, the ground, the groundwater and the surface water in the territory of Sarkandaugava:

  • The migration of underground light and viscous petroleum from the soil and groundwater table to the adjacent tributary of the Daugava river called Sarkandaugava is prevented.
  • The quality of the environment is re-established and improved.
  • Risks to people`s health are reduced.


Target groups

Residents of the countries neighbouring the Baltic Sea and inhabitants in the region and in particular the population (10’000 inhabitants) living close to the site will benefit from improvement of their living conditions, a less polluted environment and reduced health risks.
The Municipality of Riga and the Freeport of Riga will benefit from a rehabilitated environment and they will be able to carry out their pollution control more accurately.


There are three sites and the pollution at each site is different. As a result, the remediation methods are not the same.

Remediation works on the first and second site:

  • Remediation of light oil products with the pumping method
  • Remediation of the the remaining pollution (absorbed high viscosity oil products) with a microbiological method

Remediation works on the third site:

  • Elimination of the light and viscous oil product fraction including an asphalt-like layer
  • Installation of a waterproof barrier



Achieved results:  

  • The pilot phase for the rehabilitation of the first and second site has been successfully completed. 27.2 m3 of the liquid oil layers have been pumped out.

Expected results:  

  • Oil products floating above the layer of underground waters, light oil products and the remaining pollution are remediated in an area of eight hectares.
  • On the first and second site 900 tons of oil products are eliminated.
  • On the third site 530 tons of floating oil products and 8180 tons of polluted ground (including 590 tons asphalt-like layer) are eliminated and a waterproof barrier is installed.
  • The pollution of underground water is decreased by 60-70%.
  • The waste generated during the remediation is disposed safely in accordance with EU and national regulations.


Directorate/federal office responsible SECO
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    13’000’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    1’396’331 Budget inclusive project partner CHF    15’300’000
Project phases

Phase 1 11.10.2010 - 31.12.2011   (Completed)