The implementation of the project “Environmentally Sound Disposal of PCBs Containing Equipment and Waste in Latvia” started in March 2006 with a total project budget of US$ 2,841,696 including a grant contribution of US$ 999,600 from GEF and a co-financing commitment of US$ 1,842,096. The project closing date is April 2009.
The project addressed the first priority of the National Implementation Plan on Persistent Organic Pollutants (NIP) that is to eliminate the PCB-containing waste and equipment. It was a direct response to the line of action #3 in the NIP that is “Production, Export and Import, Use, Identification, Labelling, Withdrawal from Use and Utilization of PCBs and PCB-Containing Equipment, as well as the Management of PCB Containing Waste”. The concept of this project was born out of the NIP process; and, therefore, the project was well integrated with the national objectives regarding the management of POPs. It was also well aligned with the Stockholm Convention and the GEF Strategic Program 2 for GEF-4 regarding the POPs focal area strategy that is “Partnering in Investments for NIP Implementation”.
The project achievements are excellent. It achieved its set of expected results and exceeded by 210% the amount of PCB-containing equipment that was planned to eliminate. 595 tons of PCB-containing equipment were disposed of within the project; that is about 90% of the total PCB-containing equipment inventoried in Latvia so far. It also supported the development of a better methodology to inventory PCBs that was adopted by SES; the responsible authority in Latvia to monitor PCBs and enforce the existing related legislation. In parallel, the inventory was updated by the project and from a known quantity of PCB-containing equipment of 368 tons identified during the NIP process, the revised inventory is now 670 tons from which 595 tons were eliminated leaving 75 tons of PCB-containing equipment to be dispose of today. The project also commissioned few studies such as levels of dioxins in Perch from Latvian water reservoirs, levels of POPs in collected wastewater sludge and alternatives sources of PCB in Latvia (see “Researches”).
The project conducted five international tenders to contract private companies to transport and dispose of PCB-containing equipment in a certified facility. The average direct cost of transporting and treating 595 tons of PCB-containing equipment was about US$ 1,100 per ton; that is low compare to European figures. The co-financing was with a contribution estimated at about US$ 3.55M versus US$ 1.84M planned at the beginning of the project.