Oil shale waste mountains made safe in 5-year project ({{commentsTotal}})

Kiviõli semi-coke hill
Kiviõli semi-coke hill Source: (Postimees/Scanpix)

A five-year and 36-million-euro project to stop water and air pollution from semi-coke mountains in Kohtla-Järve and Kiviõli has been completed.

Tarmo Sinisaar, head of the project, said the team faced many difficulties including steep slopes and two fires..

Raimo Jaaksoo of the Ministry of the Environment said the project was needed to make the hills environmentally safe. “Air pollution, soil, ground water and surface pollution have all decreased,” he said, adding that the acquired skills used to shore up the mountains can be reused for future similar projects.

The hills were covered with water-proof bentonite mar and compressed semi-coke. The project was funded by the EU.

The mountain in Kohtla-Järve is 186 meters high, not much lower than the highest natural peak in the Baltics, Suur Munamägi (318 meters). The hill holds 73 million tons of semi-coke. Kiviõli's hill is far smaller, with only 13 million tons of the oil shale byproduct.

Editor: J.M. Laats