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Harmful substances from Talvivaara have accumulated in the nearest lakes

Press release 2012-11-28 at 10:00

The Finnish Environment Institute SYKE has analysed the latest samples taken from nearby waters. In rivers close to Talvivaara, concentrations of harmful substances have lowered considerably, but in Lake Kalliojärvi and the deep basin of Lake Kivijärvi, concentrations remain high. So far, substances do not seem to have drifted onwards into Lake Laakajärvi and Lake Jormasjärvi.

Harmful substances have drifted from rivers into nearby lakes

Concentrations of harmful substances, measured on 20 November in the River Lumijoki running southwards, have reduced to one fiftieth of the concentrations measured on 11 November. Large quantities of nickel, cadmium, zinc, aluminium and uranium have previously washed out of the River Lumijoki into Lake Kivijärvi. These substances have drifted into the heavy hypolimnion, the lowermost, non-circulating layer of cold water at the east end of the lake, and remained there for the time being. Measurement results show no signs of the advection of substances into Lake Laakajärvi.

Concentrations of hazardous substances in the Salmisenpuro streamlet, running north, have also lowered to one tenth of the highest concentrations measured on 8 November. In Lake Kalliojärvi, concentrations of nickel, cadmium, zinc and aluminium remain high. Wastewater emissions do not seem to have reached Lake Jormasjärvi.

Concentrations remain harmful to organisms and fish

Concentrations of harmful substances continue to attain a level harmful to organisms in the nearby waters of the mine area, i.e. Salminen, Kalliojärvi, Kalliojoki and Kolmisoppi to the north, and Ylä-Lumijärvi, Lumijoki and Kivijärvi to the south. Fish kills have been observed in the River Kalliojoki and Lake Kolmisoppi on the northern side. In Lake Kalliojärvi, the possibility of fish kills remains moderate.

In Lake Kivijärvi to the south, the possibility of fish mortality is lower because harmful substances have remained in the hypolimnion.  Thus, the effects of the leak have so far been restricted to less than 10 km from the mine tailings. The effects of harmful substances on water bodies in the area and other aquatic organisms will not be fully known until next spring and summer.

Further information

Jaakko Mannio, Senior Researcher
Finnish Environment Institute SYKE
Tel. +358 400 148 604

Kirsi Norros, Communications Director
Finnish Environment Institute SYKE
Tel. 040 740 1693

 


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