Neva is Being Poisoned with Oil Products and Naphthalene

Press release - 21 August, 2007
The first results of Greenpeace water patrol at the Neva River appear to be shocking. At the Okhta River which is one of the main Neva tributaries, a wastewater discharge point has been found where the oil product content exceeds the allowable concentrations by 140 thousand times.

The oil product concentration in water samples from the Okhta discharge pipe was approximately 7 g/l. One liter of this fluid suffices to make 140 tons of clear water unusable.

The pipe extends from the industrial zone located along the Umansky Lane and enters Ohkta in the area where the lane crosses the Revolyitsii chausse. On August 7th, Greenpeace experts took samples of the wastewater or, more properly, of the black oily liquid with pungent odor, and transferred them to be analyzed in the Center of Water Research and Monitoring. The protocol received from the laboratory was shocking. The oil product concentration in water samples from the Okhta discharge pipe was approximately 7 g/l. One liter of this fluid suffices to make 140 tons of clear water unusable.

"We have monitored this discharge pipe for a week and, according to our calculations, several tens of tons of oil products were discharged into Okhta during that period, directly, without any purification", - this is how Dmitry Artamonov, the Head of St.Petersburg Greenpeace Division comments. - "According to the legislation, untreated wastewater discharge into rivers is forbidden. Therefore, what happens at Okhta is a direct crime in respect to the city and its residents taking place under the absolute condonation of the authorities. For the main water intake system of St.Petersburg is located several meters from the Okhta entry down the stream".

The list of dangerous substances which are present in the Okhta discharge point contains not only oil products. The specialists have also found dangerous concentrations of ethylbenzol, naphthalene and dibutyl phthalate. The former can cause dermatitis and damage respiratory tract. A naphthalene contact leads to breakage of blood cells and can case a cataract. And dibutyl phthalate which concentration in the same discharge has appeared to exceed the norm by 130 times, influences hormonal system and causes decrease in male spermatozoids.

As it follows from the list of the substances found in the water, the polluter is an enterprise producing polymers (plastics).

Greenpeace has appealed to the Prosecutor's Office of St.Petersburg, Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resource Usage, Russian Federal Service for Ecological, Technical and Atomic Supervision requesting to stop the discharge from this pipe into the Okhta River immediately and to carry out a thorough examination of the activities of the enterprises using this wastewater discharge point.

VVPR info:

For more detailed information, please contact the Greenpeace St.Petersburg Division: +7(812)352-1022, 352-9219 Dmitry Artamonov, Maria Musatova.


The Greenpeace water patrol started its work on August 1st. Several times a week, a boat with special equipment makes trips at the Neva River and its tributaries and controls the level of water pollution. Research results are published at the Clean Neva Project Web Site –

The Okhta River is one of the dirtiest Neva tributaries. Among five possible pollution levels, it relates to the fourth pollution level.

Though the legislation has established a prohibition for discharge of untreated waste water, only 60% domestic and industrial effluents were treated in St.Petersburg in 2006.