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One of the largest manufacturers of PCBs in the USSR was located in the city of Dzerzhinsk (Nizhny Novgorod region). About 145 thousand tonnes of PCBs were produced there under the brand names sovol (1939-1990), sovtol (1939-1987) and trichlorobiphenyl (TCB) (1968-1990).

The long-term production and use of PCBs had an impact on

the environment in Dzerzhinsk and Russia in general.

Repeatedly, PCBs were found in the soils of Dzerzhinsk. In

1995, during the World Health Organization (WHO) project to

assess the contamination of breast milk in women of

Dzerzhinsk, PCB concentrations were the highest among 5

cities of Russia - 19.65 pg TEQ / g fat.

In 2005, within the framework of the International

Project IPEP, assessment of the

contamination of food by POPs in

chicken eggs of Dzerzhinsk and

Nizhny Novgorod households f

ound high concentrations of PCBs.

the first public inventory of pcbs in russia
The first public inventory of PCBs in Russia

Russia has stopped the production of PCBs about 20 years ago. In order to fulfil the requirements of the Stockholm Convention to remove PCBs containing equipment from use, it is necessary to understand where PCBs are located.

According to an inventory carried out by Arctic

Monitoring and Assessment Programme

(AMAP) and Minpromnauka at the end of the

1990s, about 30,000 tones of PCBs filled in

equipment and containers were found in the

whole country.

In 1999 there were 985 tonnes of PCBs recorded in

the Nizhny Novgorod region. However, in 2005,

when eco-SPES carried out its inventory in the

region, only 8% of these quantities (120.5 tonnes)

were found.

In 1999, there were 336 transformers and about

14,000 capacitors and in 2005, only 53 transformers,

and 984 capacitors were still in operation.

It is possible that due to loss of documentation

or poor labelling, contained equipment was not

included in any records and continues to be

used. The equipment might also have been

decommissioned and the PCBs wastes illegally

destroyed or given to private entrepreneurs for

"recycling". In addition, several entities

previously holding PCB equipment had been

subject to bankruptcy or liquidation.

In addition to the inventory, assessments of

polluted sites have been undertaken under the

IPEP project. For example, in the waters near

the waste landfill in Nizhny Novgorod and

Dzerzhinsk PCB concentrations repeatedly

exceeded the maximum allowable levels.

In the sediments of the Volosyanikha channel

that for more than 50 years served as

the reservoir for effluent from the Dzerzhinsk

chemical plants, high concentrations of PCBs

were also found.

administrative barriers
Administrative barriers

During the inventory it was found that environmental authorities in Russia - both regional and federal entities – lack information on the presence of PCB containing equipment and wastes, regulations related to PCBs and the environmentally sound management of PCBs. Russian environmental NGOs are concerned that the reform of state environmental agencies will result in the reduction in functions of these agencies, causing further loss of information.

On several occasions, eco-SPES has

been consulted by

private sector enterprises on treatment

technologies for PCBs

and on personal protection measures

to take when handling PCBs.

dmitry levashov ngo eco spes dzerzhinsk russia e mail levashow@mail ru
Dmitry LevashovNGO eco-SPES,

Dzerzhinsk, Russia.

E-mail: levashow@mail.ru