Stroomi Beach swimming zone boundaries shifted over pollution worries

Swimmers and paddlers at Stroomi beach last summer.
Swimmers and paddlers at Stroomi beach last summer. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The swimming area at a popular Tallinn beach is to be shifted a few hundred meters along this summer, in an effort to mitigate the effects of pollution and in the interests of public health.

Swimming at Stroomi Beach, in the Pelguranna neighborhood of Põhja-Tallinn District, has in recent years been blighted by pollution, particularly due to the blooming of cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, and last summer the Health Board (Terviseamet) recommended not taking a dip there.

Violetta Lanman, PR adviser at the Põhja-Tallinn District of Tallinn city government, told ERR that the swimming zone for this summer will be shifted around 300 meters northward (the beach is roughly oriented north to south).

While conditions at Stroomi Beach have improved over the years, there are still issues.

Põhja-Tallinn District Elder Manuela Pihlap told ERR that: "The biggest problem so far is the great variability of microbiological parameters in seawater, which makes the determination of pollutants difficult and time-consuming."

Water samples will be taken every week at Stroomi, through the summer, she added.

Close to 600 samples have already been taken from the source of much of the pollution, namely Mustjõgi Stream which flows into Kopli Bay and the Harku catchment area beyond, while the storm drains connected to several nearby properties have also been identified as sources, as have the nearby port facilities in Kopli, and the Kopli wastewater treatment plant.

Weather conditions and the relatively enclosed, shallow nature of the bay also contribute to the blue-green algae.

The issue is not a new one. A sewage plant was planned for the area as early as the 1930s though put on hold due to the tumult of the next decade; by the late 1950s the beach was closed to bathers, due to pollution.

The area is nowadays a popular residential subdistrict known as Pelguranna, however, and from the 1990s conditions improved, with the beach being officially reopened to the public in 1996.

Visitors' map at Stroomi Beach. Source: Põhja-Tallinn district government


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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