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Municipal wastewater treatment system

Aktau / Mangystau Province

Foto: Martin Plocek

The municipal wastewater treatment plant located at Aktau outskirts that has never been finished. Hence, the water from about half of households in the city flows with no treatment directly to the Koshkar Ata lake. Domestic animals drink water leaking from the canal, as it is one of very few sources of the water, and flocks of birds are gathering around it. Sewage water might be a source of diseases.

Another issue is the industrial wastewater management.
During Soviet times, all factories working in Aktau industrial zone were disposing their wastewater to Koshakar Ata tailings lake, and radioactive waste was constantly submerged under the surface of the lake. After the USSR dissolution, many of the factories were closed down, and lack of water causes gradual drying up of the lake. Airborne dust containing toxic and radioactive particles is then moved by virtually never-ending winds to the nearby Aktau city.

In 2003, according to the order of regional Akimat, first project for restoration of the area has been developed. It was focused on technical reclamation of 2700 ha of the area. It has never been implemented due to lack of finances. In 2007, reclamation of two most radioactive parts of the tailing ponds was carried out (Uranlikvidrudnik Company). Those parts were only covered by concrete slabs. Some other projects of reclamation were discussed in previous years (for example, Japanese company promised to decontaminate whole area with the condition that everything what will be found, will belong the company. Idea was probably to extract rare metals from the waste). None of these projects was implemented, probably due to widespread corruption and financial expectations of involved authorities and politicians.