In mid-October, the Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the Republic of Moldova, Zdenek KREJČÍ, together with the Governor of the Autonomous Region of GAGAUZIA, Irina VLAH, inaugurated a new project funded by the Czech Republic through the Czech Development Agency: „Risk mitigation of the 400/110/35 kV transformer station in Vulcăneşti“. The project is scheduled to run until the end of November 2021.
The objective of the project is to find a conceptual solution for the site of the 400/110/35 kV substation in Vulcăneşti, where nearly 1,000 capacitors exploded in 1979, resulting in long-term contamination of the rock environment in the affected area with the substances polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dioxins (PCDD/Fs).
The project outputs include a detailed investigation of the rock environment and groundwater, during which over 400 groundwater probes will be excavated to collect approximately 1,200 samples and 4 hydrological shafts with a total depth of 140 m will be excavated to collect groundwater samples. All samples collected will be transported to the Czech Republic for laboratory analysis. On the basis of the results of the laboratory analysis, the risk of the site will be assessed and the possibility of reducing the risk will be proposed (feasibility study). In addition, the basis for the implementation of remedial measures will be prepared. The project will also include seminars for the professional public.
The main partner of the project entitled Risk Mitigation of the 400/110/35 kV Transformer Station in Vulcăneşti is the state-owned enterprise Moldelectrica, other partners are the Ministry of Agriculture, Regional Development and Environment of Moldova, POPs Sustainable Management Office, the Autonomous Region of Gaugazie and other relevant governmental authorities. The project is further monitored and supported by the Embassy of the Czech Republic in the Republic of Moldova. The project implementer is the Czech company DEKONTA, a.s., which has extensive experience in dealing with the issue and has been developing its activities in the Republic of Moldova for a long time.
In addition to the operator of the transformer station in Vulcăneşti, the final beneficiaries of the project will be the residents living near the station and the farmers using the surrounding land. The project will also benefit the inhabitants of the areas where groundwater flows from the site, who may potentially be exposed to the consequences of environmental pollution. The risk assessment and subsequent implementation of remedial measures will eliminate the migration of contamination to other environmental compartments and food chains.
The Republic of Moldova is a priority country under the Czech Republic’s Foreign Development Cooperation Programme. The project builds on previous major interventions and projects of the Czech Development Agency since 2006, aimed at eliminating the risk of environmental contamination, such as: „Remediation of ecological burdens caused by pesticides in Moldova I and II“, „Technical and institutional support in the field of solid waste management in Southern Moldova“, „Remediation of sites contaminated with oil in the municipalities of Lunga and Mărculeşti“ or „Reduction of risks related to the hazardous waste dump in Cişmichioi“.