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Petrom develops the largest ecological rehabilitation project in Romania

February 28, 2007

  • Project “Verde la puterea Petrom” (Green to the power of Petrom) will roll out over three years
  • Approximately 200,000 square meters to be ecologically rehabilitated

Almost 200,000 square meters of land will be ecologically rehabilitated and given back to Bucharest by Petrom based on an investment of approximately 10 mn euros.
When the project is finalized, the soil will become fertile again and the phreatic water will become biologically and chemically compliant with the ecological parameters accepted in Romania. The ecological rehabilitation process will also bring environmental parameters within normal range for the neighboring areas – the village and lake of Straulesti.

The Petrom initiative VerdePetrom (Green to the power of Petrom) is the first ecological rehabilitation project of such breadth and complexity ever implemented in Romania and will unfold over a three-year period.

Located in the north of the capital, the land plot to be rehabilitated houses a former oil storage facility. Following the bombardments during the Second World War, the storage tanks were damaged which caused the pollution of the soil in specific areas.

Cleansing the soil and water with advanced technologies
The rehabilitation includes the cleansing of the soil and of the phreatic water, performed through innovative purification technologies. These technologies rely on the stimulation of natural biological processes involved in the decomposition of polluting agents.

"The size of the project is a clear indication of its importance. More than 100,000 cubic meters of soil will be uncovered and more than 3 million cubic meters of phreatic water will be extracted and purified. The technologies to be used are internationally recognized and will be employed in cooperation with specialized companies from Austria and Germany", stated Petrom CEO Mariana Gheorghe.

The soil rehabilitation will consist of the excavation and mechanical, chemical and biological treatment of approximately 100,000 cubic meters of soil. Then the soil is put back on the entire surface, in a 65 cm layer.
The phreatic water will be extracted – around 3 mn cubic meters during the entire period of time – cleansed, re-injected, treated with microorganisms and submitted to a barbotage process by air pumping.

"This is the result of a cooperation project regarding the rehabilitation of the contaminated areas. Its size and complexity places this project as a landmark in Romania. The Ministry of Environment and Water Management is always open for such cooperation projects by which contaminated lands become usable again, without any restrictions”, stated Mr. Attila Korodi, Secretary of State for Environment and European Integration in the Ministry of Environment and Water Management.

”VerdePetrom” – a three staged project
The first one will begin on the very day of the project launch, and it will consist of the demolition of all buildings, tanks, pumps, pipes, etc. in the intervention perimeter.

The second stage will begin this spring and will involve simultaneous interventions to extract the crude oil leak, and to rehabilitate the soil and the phreatic water. Specialists estimate this stage will take approximately 3 years to complete.

The third stage will involve the implementation of a system allowing the monitoring and rigorous control of resistant polluting substances. This stage is estimated to take five years to complete, after the soil decontamination has been finalized (2009-2014).

"We would like our experience to also act as an incentive for other companies which have, like us, come into ownership of environmental problems stemming from the past. It is not an easy decision, as it involves employing significant resources – but it can  also contribute significantly to an invaluable parameter: the quality of the environment and the quality of life for the people living and working in the area", stated Petrom CEO Mariana Gheorghe.

The storage facility of Straulesti – strategic target during the Second World War
The land at Straulesti was used as a storage area between 1934 and 2005. The storage tanks were severely damaged by the bombings in WWII and by the earthquakes in 1940 and 1977. As a result of the destruction caused, significant amounts of petroleum products have leaked into the soil. Along the years, these leaks have migrated to the phreatic zone.

The storage platform was closed down in 2006 when all the tanks were cleaned. In 2005, one year before, Petrom initiated investigations to determine the degree of oil infiltration in the soil and the phreatic. The studies took 6 months to be finalized and were performed by two renowned foreign companies, from Great Britain (Halcrow) and Austria (Strabag).