Adventurous people can happen upon catch basins full of blue-green water as a result of millions of cubic meters of water pumped out of Eesti Energia mines.
Kalmer Sokman, head of environment for Eesti Energia's natural resources department, said that the catch basins of the Estonia oil shale mine are safer for hikers because one risks crossing the path of mining machinery in the Narva quarry.
Unlike the alkaline water found in the catch basins of the Narva Power Plants' ash fields, water pumped out of the mines is not harmful. "Its chemical makeup makes it fit to drink, but since the basin is exposed to the elements, one still needs to be wary of coli," Sokman said, emphasizing that it is not allowed to wash vehicles in the water.
The water that is waiting to be returned to natural circulation offers a mesmerizing sight in sunny weather, courtesy of its blue-green hue.
"The water has quite a lot of limestone particles, calcite minerals. And with a blue sky and the light coming in at the right angle, it appears blueish," Kalmer Sokman explained.
Most basins are out of the way of hikers. One is located in the territory of the former Illuka municipality. Anette Ahu discovered the location with the help of her friend. "I looked at the map and couldn't quite understand what it was until my friend showed me the lake. It was so blue that I took a shine to it and keep coming back," Ahu said.
The most accessible of these beautiful lakes born out of man disrupting the balance of nature is the Milloja catch basin near the Selisoo hiking trail underneath which oil shale is mined 60 meters deep.
National energy company Eesti Energia has a total of 16 catch basins: one underground and five above ground for the Estonia mine and ten for the Narva quarry.
Editor: Marcus Turovski