Protecting Baltic Sea from untreated wastewater spillages during flood events in urban areas

January 2019 -
December 2021

2. Natural resources 2.1 Clear waters


The NOAH project improves spatial planning and the operation of urban storm water runoff and drainage systems in order to reduce pollution caused by extreme weather such as heavy rains and floods. NOAH develops a new layer for extreme weather events to be used in computer based modelling of drainage. By combining this modelling with traditional city planning techniques, municipal planning shifts from fragmented individual site based planning to a holistic approach covering the entire urban catchment.




Floods bring pollutants to the Baltic Sea

Climate change comes with brings along intense rainfalls and storms in the Baltic Sea region. Urban drainage systems are not capable to handle this, and therefore floods are becoming more common in the densely populated areas. Floods raise the risk of flushing untreated wastewater from urban drainage systems into nature. This is harmful to people and environment due to the excessive amount of nutrients, hazardous substances and pathogenic microbes in wastewater.

Holistic planning and smart drainage systems

Urban areas can be prepared for floods by improved planning and self-adaptive drainage operations. The NOAH project has brought together nine towns and water utilities, seven academic and research institutions and two umbrella organisations from six countries around the Baltic Sea to join their forces. NOAH’s approach is to create a concept for holistic planning and implement smart drainage systems in real urban environments. Holistic planning combines stormwater management with spatial planning. This is followed by development of smart drainage systems to make the existing facilities resilient to the impacts of climate change.

Healthier and cleaner Baltic Sea

The NOAH concept is easily scalable to any urban area around the Baltic Sea. Implementation of the concept could reduce the inflow of pollutants into the Baltic Sea by half. The activities are anchored into daily practices of towns and water utilities, leading to a healthier and cleaner Baltic Sea!


€ 3.00
€ 2.43
Eni + Russia
€ 0.00
€ 0.00


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Project manager

Tallinn University of Technology

Ivar Annus

3 726 202 557

Legal representative

Tallinn University of Technology

Maia-Liisa Anton

3 726 203 514

Financial manager

Tallinn University of Technology

Liina Kotkas

372 620 2405

Communication manager

Satakunta University of Applied Sciences

Hanna Rissanen

358 447 103 034