Sunday, August 20, 2017

Only 65 percent of Sverdlovsk residents have access to clean drinking water

During last week's meeting of United Russia's Clean Water forum, Deputy Head of the Sverdlovsk Regional Legislative Assembly Galina Artemieva said only 65 percent of the region's population has access to quality drinking water.

Artemieva said one of the major contributing factors to the region's water problem is the pollution of surface water sources. Approximately 900 industrial facilities built on the outer portions of the region continuously runoff into the natural waterways from which potable water is harvested, Oblastnaya Gazeta reports.

However, regional officials have no legal authority over these corporations and their environmental practices and have been unsuccessful in petitioning the federal agencies responsible for environmental oversight.

An estimated 96 percent of contaminants found in the region's surface water sources have been traced back to industrial discharge. Moreover, environmental experts have attributed the trichlorethylene contamination detected in the Upper Isetsky pond earlier this year to industrial products used by enterprises in the Sverdlovsk region.

"The regional government in 2011, beginning to enter into [environmental safety] agreements with companies," Sverdlovsk Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology Alexander Alexandrov said, Oblastnaya Gazeta reports. "While they signed only 16, but in 2020 there is an intention with these bilateral agreements to reduce wastewater discharge into rivers and reservoirs by 94 cubic meters. But it's a little, just two percent of the total annual amount [of wastewater discharge] and, of course, in no way solves the problem of drinking water quality."

The second major factor contributing to the Sverdlovsk region's lack of quality drinking water is the deterioration of plumbing pipes within houses and apartment buildings. While 936 potable water pipelines--measuring more than 11,100 miles--carry clean water from the region's numerous water filtering stations, old corroded pipes within residential buildings contaminate the water with iron immediately prior to consumption.

For the last 12 years, drinking water from residential faucets in Yekaterinburg has consistently contained iron levels registering eight or more percent above the national average, according to Oblastnaya Gazeta.

Analysts estimate that if 1.5 percent of all contaminated pipes were replaced in regional homes each year, the work would take at least 70 years to complete.