A new report shows that discharges from from a Danish wasterwater plant into Agersø Sound is causing significant environmental impacts
Earlier this year, Weekendavisen and various other Danish media outlets revealed that the company RGS Nordic discharges wastewater into Agersø Sound which lies between the islands of Fyn and Zealand.
The company is located in Stigsnæs by Skælskør and imports wastewater from Norway, among other places, and several local forces have for years pointed out that the wastewater, despite treatment, is to the great detriment of the environment and, among other things, affects fish death. The case is so serious that the Danish Fisheries Association earlier this year ordered a report to uncover the problem.
“For Danish fishing, it is absolutely crucial that we take care of our marine environment. We have been working on this for years in the fishing industry and we are still in full swing. A healthy marine environment is a prerequisite for Danish fishing. That is why we also need to react, in cases like this. We have therefore prepared a report at Aarhus University to uncover what the consequences of the pollution are, says the chairman of the Danish Fisheries Association,” Svend-Erik Andersen.
The report has been prepared by the National Center for Environment and Energy at the University of Aarhus and sheds light on the discharges of polluted industrial wastewater from the treatment plant at RGS Nordic in Stigsnæs near Skælskør. The main conclusion of the report is that the available measurement data from RGS ‘own control reveal ” that the discharged concentration levels and amounts pose a risk of causing chronic and acute toxic effects in the ecosystem” and “that the discharge of a number of substances with wastewater from RGS Nordic is a significant impact on the aquatic environment in Agersø Sound ”.
The report makes a great impression on fishermen through three generations, Jan Rasmussen, who for years has pursued the case and at the same time witnessed that life and the fish have disappeared from Agersø Sound.
“It makes me really sad when I think about what has happened to Agersø Sund. It is a great loss for the whole area that there are neither fish in the sea nor cutters in the harbor. And the new report proves what I have been saying for years. The pollution from RGS Nordic can poison the water in Agersø Sound. I have a hard time finding words. It is a scandal and the Minister of the Environment, the Folketing and Slagelse Municipality should intervene immediately,” says Jan Rasmussen.
A number of the measurements show exceedances of “applicable general environmental quality requirements”, where the limit values for emissions of heavy metals, barium, polyaromatic hydrocarbons, bisphenol A and PFOS are exceeded. Overall, this means that the marine environment is being destroyed. The report also points out that the limit values set in Slagelse Municipality’s environmental approval of the company from 2008 are too high and in violation of current environmental legislation. Nevertheless, Slagelse municipality still administers according to the old environmental requirements.
The overall picture drawn from the report is that 30% of the samples are above the limit values, which were set in Slagelse Municipality’s environmental approval from 2008. As much as 80% of the samples are above the applicable general environmental quality requirements used today, and which also should be valid in Slagelse Municipality. This is stated by the man behind the report, Jakob Strand, who is a senior researcher at Aarhus University, Department of Bioscience – Marine Biodiversity and Experimental Ecology.
“It surprises me that Slagelse Municipality can administer after an environmental approval that does not live up to the limit values we have set to protect our marine environment. It can have serious effects on the local marine environment, and you have very good reason to look at the discharges, says the author of the report,” Jakob Strand.