Sarkandaugava Project

Projekt abgeschlossen
Man working on the rememdiation site
Switzerland enables Latvia to safely dispose of hazardous waste products left over from the Soviet period. © SECO

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).


Land/Region Thema Periode Budget
Umwelt schützen
01.04.2011 - 13.06.2017
CHF  13’000’000

Note: the texts under all the headings, with the exception of 'Results achieved', describe the situation before the start of the project.


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.

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.

Erreichte Resultate:  

  • Over 1600 tons of oil products have been pumped out.
  • Over 7000 tons of polluted ground was cleared away.
  • The pollution of underground water is decreased by 60-70%. All three remediated territories comply now with the EU Water Framework Directive 2000/60EC. The inflow of pollution into the Sarkandaugava channel is prevented.
  • Waste generated during the remediation was disposed by a licensed waste disposal company in accordance with the EU and national regulations.

Verantwortliche Direktion/Bundesamt SECO
Kreditbereich Schweizer Beitrag an die erweiterte EU
Projektpartner Vertragspartner
  • State Waste Management Agency
  • Latvian Ministry of Finance

Latvian Ministry of Environment and State Environmental Service

Budget Laufende Phase Schweizer Beitrag CHF    13’000’000 Bereits ausgegebenes Schweizer Budget CHF    12’220’558

Phase 1 01.04.2011 - 13.06.2017   (Completed)