Interactive WAter MAnagement

March 2016 -
April 2019


Policy area:
2. Natural resources 2.1 Clear waters


The project aims to improve the resource efficiency in wastewater management in the Baltic Sea Region by capacity development of the wastewater treatment operators and implementation of pilot investments, which will result in reduced nutrient inflows to the Baltic Sea


Municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) play an important role in water protection. Efficient and environmentally smart WWTP operations can influence the state of the sea and the climate. While purifying domestic and industrial wastewaters, WWTPs remove nutrients (phosphorous P and nitrogen N) from the water. When returning to the water bodies, nutrients cause eutrophication, which is one of the biggest problems of the Baltic Sea.

The HELCOM recommendations for concentrations for outflowing nutrients are stricter than the requirements of the EU Urban WWT Directive. As a result different WWTPs are applying different requirements in different parts of the BSR. To be able to reach the HELCOM recommendations, most of the WWTPs still need to improve their nutrient removal methodology. Complying with the HELCOM recommendations means also additional operational costs for the WWTPs. However, it is possible, at the same time as applying the HELCOM recommendations, to save costs by smart process optimisation and investments. This opens doors for new business opportunities and innovative, cost and energy efficient technology development.

The project actions will focus on three main areas of the municipal WWT sector: capacity development (CD), energy management (EM) and sludge management (SM). The capacity development activities will facilitate uptake of the most recent knowledge on smart sludge and energy management in the region as well as use the lessons learned from the pilot investments. Project partners will participate in on-site workshops, on-line webinars and form national knowledge based communities of lifelong learning in each partner country. The communities will be represented on the international arena through the Baltic Smart Water Hub, which will utilize training materials and other tools developed during the course of the project, and provide an opportunity to adapt new information and continuous knowledge exchange with other water stakeholders in the BSR. The smart energy and sludge management concepts will be developed and tested to improve the efficiency of WWT.

The concepts will include the first of its kind common evaluation system for efficient energy performance and sludge treatment based on the wide range of data collected in the BSR. The pilot investments will be implemented for improved energy efficiency and enhanced nitrogen control as well as to increase the quality of sludge management and enhance the nutrient removal through sludge water treatment and new solutions for sludge hygienisation, stabilisation and drying.

Highlights by mid-term:

With the support of the Union of Baltic Cities, project partners and associated organisations were encouraged and supported in making at least one concrete commitment to the Baltic Sea Challenge which is dedicated to making the shared sea resource clean and productive. So far, 14 project partners, four associated organisations, and two local stakeholder groups have joined. One example is a two-year study programme for wastewater treatment operators developed by the Estonian Waterworks Association jointly with the Järvamaa Vocational Training Centre that uses, to a large extent, material developed by the project. The studies will culminate in a vocational exam and a professional certificate that meets European professional standards.

Together with the EUSBSR's Policy Area Nutri, the project organised a seminar on the role of capacity building and cross-border cooperation in an innovation-based water sector at the 8th Strategy Forum in Berlin. The online platform 'Baltic Smart Water Hub' was published and tested in a workshop with project partners.

Project Stories


€ 4.62
€ 3.69
Eni + Russia
€ 0.00
€ 0.00


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Project manager

Union of the Baltic Cities

Olena Zinchuk

+35 822 623 425

Legal representative

Union of the Baltic Cities, Sustainable Cities Commission c/o City of Turku

Tuomas Heikkinen

+358 02 330 000

Financial manager


Jussi Välimäki

+358 449 075 989

Communication manager

Union of the Baltic Cities

Agnieszka Ilola

358 445 002 133