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World Bank, March 08, 2019

Aim Texas Trading, LLC has attended a tender in providing consulting services in Joint Venture with HPC AG (Germany) and PASECO (Greece) for Preparation of AZERBAIJAN: Absheron Lakes Clean Up and Rehabilitation Feasibility Study for Lake Khojasan Sustainable Cleanup and Area Rehabilitation (WB-SELECTION # 1261392), whereas PASECO is the Lead Consultant.

The Greater Baku Regional Development Plan (GBRDP) of 2015 envisions expansion of urban development west and east of Baku, and in the locations of old oil fields and areas around the lakes. The GBRDP recommends policy measures to restrict development on contaminated lands until they are properly cleaned.

The Government of Azerbaijan (GoA) has assigned high priority on cleaning of industrially polluted land and lakes in the Greater Baku Area, acknowledging the expected economic benefits and positive impacts on environmental health as a “public good”. The removal of contaminants and the regeneration of these brownfields will help mitigate the risk and potential negative impacts on public health, water, groundwater and soils of adjacent neighborhoods; will create jobs and new business opportunities for local entrepreneurs, and consequently increase the area’s development potential and property values.

The Absheron lakes are part of the landscape and if cleaned up could significantly contribute to the quality of life in Greater Baku by increasing the landscape / esthetic value, providing recreational services, and freeing up additional land for housing and economic activities. Their restoration to more natural systems even could help mitigate urban climate extremes.

Khojasan Lake is located in the west side of the city, in the Binagadi district. The lake is relatively shallow with an average depth of 4m, a surface area of 1.82 sq. km with a maximum length of 3.82km and width of 662m. The water of the outlet of the lake flows to the south. On the northeast side there is a marshy area and in the northwest a water inlet. Naturally, the lake is supplied by rainwaters and used to be supplied by ground waters of upstream areas.

Khodjsan lake’s delineable watershed comprise an area of which is nearly 16.9 km2. Its watershed is slopped from the north to the south with the lowest point at the south part. The lake and its watershed occupy the syncline and surrounded by two ridges from the east and west sides. Left ridge is called Shubani mountains, which is much higher than the right one. The highest place of the watershed is in the Shubani ridge, which is 344 m. The lowest place of the watershed is the start point of the main outflow, which is 13 m. Right ridge is called Yasamal uplands the highest place of which is 118 m.

Lake Khojasan is one of the lakes on the list of polluted areas in the Absheron Peninsula, including with oil compounds such as VOCs, PAHs, and heavy metals. A study commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Development in 2014 points that soil around the lake are polluted with Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons, cadmium, mercury and arsenic slightly above the national soil quality standard, and lake sediments were moderately polluted with oil products. It is assumed that the source of pollution with oil products are (former) oil extraction activities in the vicinity of Khojasan.

A major source of pollution in the Kodjasan lake area is untreated municipal sewage and industrial wastewaters released directly into the lake, particularly in the northern part the lake is affected by heavily developed industrial sites with unregulated releases of chemical and biological pollutants. Shanty areas and numerous small and medium size industrial development with no planned sewage system use the lake as a receptor for their wastewaters. Small oil extraction wells in the vicinity of the lake also release effluents directly into the lake. High concentrations of nutrients of the lake water are due to large quantities of waste water inflows with high nutrient concentrations. The result of the high nutrient availability in the lake water is a high variety of algae and a permanent high production of cyanabacteria. Run-offs from unauthorized solid waste dumpsites in the area west side of City Bypass Road in Binagadi, pose high risk for the lake water quality. It is estimated that solid waste in the lake watershed comprise 30% construction waste and tailings, 60% domestic waste, 6% oil residues and 4% old tires; some sites contain livestock wastes.

The waste waters in the lake form roughly 75 % of the total water input in the lake. The remaining input is assumed to be divided over seepage, surface runoff and precipitation. Precipitation has the largest contribution during the winter months. Annually the share of seepage, surface runoff and precipitation are expected to be equally divided.

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