Finland: Environmental authority says nickel leak threatening southwest river

Norilsk Nickel Harjavalta. (Yle)
Norilsk Nickel Harjavalta. (Yle)
Environmental authorities in southwest Finland fear that nickel emissions from a local mine may be endangering marine life in the Kokemäki River. Samples indicate that nickel concentrations are 400 times normal levels.

Watershed specialist Harri Helminen of southwest Finland environmental authorities said that massive nickel emissions from the Russian-owned Norilsk Nickel mine in Harjavalta western Finland could pose a danger to marine life in the local river. Officials say that while the impact of metals has been researched to some extent, it is difficult to forecast the fallout from emissions.

“At this stage it’s difficult to make precise evaluations about the effects of emissions but 66 tons is a significant amount,” Helminen said.

According to the hydrologist current nickel concentrations in the river are coming in at around 8.8 milligrams. Normal environmental levels are around 20 micrograms so the nickel readings are now some 400 times normal.

“The problem is that the river is currently low so concentrations are diluting slowly. Officials must now consider closely monitoring the river’s progress,” Helminen added.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada:  Ammonia, toxic metals leaching into Nunavut’s Frobisher Bay, CBC News

Finland: Microplastics – the latest threat to the Baltic, Yle News

Sweden:  Sweden tackles plastic bag problem, Radio Sweden

United States: Removing tsunami trash from remote Alaska beaches, Alaska Dispatch

Yle News

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One thought on “Finland: Environmental authority says nickel leak threatening southwest river

  • Friday, July 25, 2014 at 16:01

    Let’s use this as an opportunity to learn more about heavy metals, their relationship to our water and industry standards. It is possible here not to dwell on the bad but to look ahead to ensure a safer future along side industry giants.

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