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Unpleasant smell in Astana to be eliminated by 2017 21 марта 2015, 13:50

The unpleasant smell in Astana caused by sewage waters discharged into Taldykol Lake near the capital city will be eliminated by 2017.
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The unpleasant smell in Astana caused by sewage waters discharged into Taldykol Lake near the capital city of Kazakhstan will be eliminated by 2017, Tengrinews reports citing Bolat Davletov, the Chief Engineer at AstanaGenPlan scientific research and design institute.

Sewage water has been discharging to Taldykol Lake since 1970. This cause the lake to expand as its natural borders were being eroded.

In 1969, an earthen dam was built around the lake and Taldykol became a part of a wastewater treatment plant of Tselinograd city, current Astana. Presently, Taldykol still serves as a pond for accumulation of treated sewage water of Astana city. Its capacity is 65.5 million cubic meters of water.

Astana residents began complaining about the unpleasant smell back in 2011. Kazakhstan's Minister of Environment at that time said Taldykol Lake was the cause of this smell, and that the funds were allocated to address the problem.

Later, in April 2013, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev instructed the government and Astana Mayor's Office to speed up the work on elimination of the odor in Astana. "We were talking about eliminating Taldykol sewage pond by 2015, so it does not irritate the residents (with its smells). The work is to begin soon. The smell is unpleasant there. However, the project has lacked sufficient funding for two years. This is a very important project, the lake is close to the city," the head of state said during the meeting on development of the capital.

In February 2014, then Astana Mayor Imangali Tasmagambetov declared that discharge of sewage water into the Taldykol basin would be terminated starting from June 2014. "Sewage water in the amount of 150 thousand cubic meters will be discharged into the Yesil (Ishim) River after being recycled and purified," he said.

The unpleasant smell is supposed to be eliminated by 2017, according to Bolat Davletov, Chief Engineer at AstanaGenPlan, the entity responsible for the general development of Astana city. “There will be no smell. The project entitled Drainage and Elimination of Taldykol Lake addresses all the problems. First, water will be pumped out of there. Silt will remain and some minerals will be dispersed to eliminate the smell. After that, the lake will become four times smaller, i.e. it will return back to its natural borders. A recreation area will be built around it - parks and squares," Davletov told the journalists when talking about changes into the general plan of the capital until 2030. 

However, the idea of forced drainage of the lake raises concerns of the ecologists about the lake's fauna. Currently, 12 species of ducks, including the white-headed duck, which is included in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and the Red Book of Kazakhstan (category 1 – threatened with extinction), snipe, partridge, geese, swans and pelicans. Taldykol Lake is also a great place for ornithologists to observe birds. If the lake is artificially drained, the lake's fauna may be destroyed and therefore, before making any decision about the lake, measures to save the lake's fauna have to be taken, the ecologists said.

The city administration initially planned to move the sewage pond further from the capital. For this purpose, Karabidaik sewage pond with the capacity of 70 million cubic meters was built 34 kilometers from Astana. 

But since it was decided to discharge purified sewage water into the Yesil River, the Karabidaik pond will serve as a spare sewage pond.

Reporting by Renat Tashkinbayev, writing by Assel Satubaldina, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina 


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