A. Project Impact and Environmental Rating
1. The Baku Water Supply Rehabilitation Project, as an emergency project, is designed
to address urgent operational and administrative needs of the water sector. The project
has been assigned a category B rating. No significant environmental effects are
anticipated other than a slight increase in vehicular traffic in some parts of the city
and some disruption in traffic flows caused by pipelines being replaced. Mitigating
measures will be taken to abate noise and dust from construction activities as well as to
redirect traffic so as not to impede normal flows unnecessarily or for extended periods.
There will also be a slight increase in sewage flows as a result of increased water
pressure; however, the increase in water supply in targeted areas and better water quality
will offset this effect. A sewage operation is planned as a second phase following
implementation of the proposed rehabilitation project. The expected operational and
administrative improvements under the current project should quicken the pace of
implementing a subsequent operation to improve the sewage situation of the Apsheron
B. Overview of the Water Sector
Water Supply Sources and Quality
2. Baku City and the Apsheron Peninsula are fed with water from three principal
sources: Shollar and Hachmas intakes, Jeiranbatan reservoir, and the Kura river. In
addition, there is local exploitation of ground water. For the public potable system, the
water from the Shollar and Hachmas intakes requires only chlorination. The water from
Jeiranbatan reservoir and Kura river receives full treatment at two large treatment works.
There is no systematic collection of water quality data on exploitation from ground
sources. Available data from research studies confirmed a wide range water quality
depending on the source.
3. Sources of drinking water supply include Shollar and Hachmas intakes, with a flow
rate of 1.27 m3/s. They are named after towns located 180 km north of Baku. Both intakes
are fed by underground water of sediments of quaternary age represented lithologically by
gravel and mixed sands. The water bearing strata are protected against vertically
migrating pollutants by relatively thick clay rocks. The water from these intakes is fresh
and meets national standards for potable water. Mineralization ranges between 1-3 and
15-30 g/l and more. The water composition is chloride-sulphate and chloride-hydrocarbonate
4. The Jeiranbatan reservoir, situated km north of Baku, is supplied by the Samuron
canal, built in 1956, with a total storage volume of 186.6 Mm3 and a useful storage
capacity of 150.3 Mm3. The Samuron canal carries freshwater originating in a mountainous
area that is thinly populated, with no large industries. After treatment, water quality
meets national standards (GOST 2874-82). Solid residuals range between 126-426 mg/l, and
total hardness from 2 to 14 mgeq/l. Among anions, hydrocarbonates (177-647 mg/l) dominate
over sulphates (32-236 mg/l) and chlorides (4-16 mg/l). Last summer light algae blooms
were observed in some areas of the reservoir, which confirmed potential for airborne or
agricultural pollution. The unfavorable location of the reservoir and lack of buffer zone
will need to be addressed to minimize this source of water pollution.
5. Lack of reliable environmental monitoring data make estimation the scale and nature
of Kura river pollution extremely difficult to measure. There are many examples where
estimations are too general or contradictory. Lack of industrial and municipal treatment
facilities in the river basin as well as intensive agriculture production (cotton) in the
river's upper reaches lead to the conclusion that riverain water is polluted. The
hydrochemical composition and quality of riverain water are related to the intensity of
industrial production, community infrastructure, and the type of agricultural activity in
the basin. Water that belongs to the sulphate-hydrocarbonate category of sodium or calcium
group, with very high natural turbidity, varies seasonally, ranging from 500 to 60,000
6. Groundwater in the peninsula appears sporadically. In the western part, it appears
in the form of patches and in the east and around Baku it occurs everywhere at a depth of
1-30m. The quality of water depends on the area, i.e, salinization typically varies
between 1 to 50 g/l and more. The best quality of water resources can be found near or in
Bilga, Buzavna, and Mandakyan. Water is poorly mineralised (1-3 mg/l) and reaches aost
7. As a consequence of the rise in the level of the Caspian Sea, in several areas in
the east part of the peninsula (e.g., Guzavny), water from the dikes has begun flooding
settlements and arable cultivated fields.
8. Most of the groundwater resources are contaminated by industrial and municipal
wastes dumped or discharged in the area. The source of water pollution in the distribution
system is inflow of dirty ground water, accumulated due to bursts of sewerage and water
supply pipes. Open-cast mines and rubbish dumps filled with water are possible sources of
pollution, not only for the distribution pipework but for reservoirs as well (see 1/).
Underground water that is unprotected from pollutants in the natural environment should
only be used by industries, which today is not the case.
9. According to the results of a survey by the Baku Sanitary and Epidemiological
Center, of 764 water samples taken from the distribution system in all 11 districts of
Baku over a 9-month period in 1994, 24.6% do not meet state standards for potable water on
bacteriological indices and 86.8% on chemical analysis (see 2/).
Waste Water Collection and Treatment
10. The City of Baku is served by a sewerage system most of which was constructed
during the 1950s. About 1,300,000 m3/day has been estimated by the Baku Sewage Company as
the total quantity of sewage generated within the Baku administrative area. Other
calculations indicate that the quantity may be about half this amount, and that the per
capita volumes of sewage generated are about half of the values of official estimates.
11. Nearly 60% of Baku is not provided with communal sewerage. Hence, waste water from
Azizbekov, Bingadi, Surachani, and the Nizami-Karadag region is discharged into lakes and
pits in the neighborhood. Only 70,000 and 17,000 m3, respectively, of waste water (per
day) are discharged into Beuyk-Shor and Byul-Byul lakes; however, the water in four other
lakes-Beyuk Shor, Byul Byula, Ganii Gel and Krasnoye (southwest Baku)--is reported to be
rising to dangerously high levels. Houses in Amiradzhany, east of lake Byul Byula, have
been flooded. According to the Baku Sewage Company, the rise in water level is attributed
to sewage inflows (see 3/).
12. In the Baku area, pollution is also caused by health care institutions. There are
92 hospitals and 11 medical institutes in the Baku area, and none of them is equipped with
adequate facilities for the sterilization of wastes before they are discharged into the
sewage network (see 4/).
13. In the city, area the sewerage system and storm water systems have become partially
combined in response to the rainfall in some of the newer districts of the city, where
surface water sewerage is absent or inadequate to handle the sewage overflow. According to
rough estimates, about 700 m3/day of untreated effluent is discharged into the sea. There
are 50 outfalls discharging sewage into the Bay of Baku, of which 19 are industrial, 17
are municipal and 14 combined systems, some of them visible from the sea front promenade
14. Several housing areas and settlements throughout the Apsheron Peninsula do not have
proper sewage collection and disposal facilities. In the absence of municipal sewerage,
residents, either individually or in community groups, have installed private systems.
Sewage is discharged into the nearest lake or a ground soakway. Settlements served by such
sewerage facilities include: Binagadi and Rasulzadi near lake Beyuk Shor, and Syul Byula,
Surakhani, and Amiradzhany near Lake Byul Byula.
15. Another problem is created by 45,000 summer houses located on the Apsheron
Peninsula. Only a few of them are connected to the sewage network, while the others use
septic tanks, allowing wastes to penetrate the groundwater. Owners of those settlements
either bring drinking water in containers or drill their own wells and use local
groundwater resources. Wastes are disposed of illegally on land in the neighborhood.
16. There are four sewage treatment plants serving the Baku administrative area:
Govsani (mechanical and biological) with a nominal treatment capacity of 600,000 m3/day;
Zikh (mechanical) with a treatment capacity 70,000 m3/day; Mardakan/Shuvelan (mechanical)
with the treatment capacity of 18,600 m3/day; and Khodzhasan with the treatment capacity
of 18,600 m3/day. The total nominal treatment capacity of the plants located in the Baku
area is 707,200 m3/day.
17. The Apsheron Peninsula is one of the oldest oil producing regions in the world. As
a result of over a century of oil exploitation, the surface and underground hydrosphere
has greatly changed. Oil exploitation and its distribution has led to deterioration of
soil and water caused by oil spills and oil exploration activities. There are nearly 7,000
hectares of land polluted by the oil, with thickness varying from 2.5 meters to 20 meters.
This has led to flowage, underflooding, bogging, an increase of abrasion processes,
pollution of the Caspian Sea, and other deleterious effects. The absence of a sewage
network and treatment system and the lack of legal regulation and enforcement facilitates
dumping municipal and industrial wastes into the Apsheron Peninsula area and the
surrounding lakes, as discussed below.
18. Many years of mismanagement practices in oil exploitation-e.g., cleaning of the
pipelines caused an accumulation of radionuclides (from radium-226, thorium-228, potassium
40) in the soil of the Apsheron Peninsula. In some places, soils should be buried as
radioactive waste. In the past, the city of Baku together with the neighboring city,
Sumgait, were among the leading industrial centers in the Soviet Union, with a total
production value of about 3.5 billion rubles in 1988. The following types of industrial
activity are represented in the area: petrochemical, metal processing, machine building,
pulp and paper, and food processing. Concentration of such industrial activities, in
conjunction with a total lack of environmental concern, resulted in tremendous
environmental devastation of the region caused by uncontrolled emissions and dumps.
19. Officially, Baku has one disposal site for solid waste, in Balakhanskaya. For many
years, no precise measurements were taken of the quantity of solid industrial and domestic
wastes, and currently the area of dumping has not been estimated. The utilization,
disinfection, and incineration of industrial toxic wastes is extremely unsatisfactory (see
20. A resolution was passed in 1979 instructing industry to pretreat effluents from all
industrial plants before they are discharged into the sewage system. A small number of
industrial enterprises pretreat their effluent before discharging it into the sewers. The
majority discharge effluent without pretreatment, and thus jeopardize the treatment
processes at sewage treatment plants.
21. A large number of artificial ponds and reservoirs appear on the surface as a result
of waste water discharge. At Biby-Eybat, a (main dumping area), about 140 reservoirs have
appeared. The ground water table in the area has risen five meters since 1940. Another
problem is the deterioration of the relict (glacial) lakes on the Apsheron Peninsula, with
their tremendous biodiversity (Beyuk-Shor, Byul-Byuly, Gadji-Gasan, Zykh, etc), which are
now completely polluted.
Bay of Baku
22. The location of the Bay of Baku, which fronts a densely populated area of the city
with promenades, theaters, restaurants, and crowded streets, makes the quality of its
environment of utmost importance. The high concentration of activities on the periphery of
the Bay together with heavy pollution creates an additional health hazard with the
population of the Baku Metropolitan area.
23. The Bay is heavily polluted by discharges from several industrial and municipal
facilities. The daily anthropogenic input on the Bay of Baku is estimated at about
500,000-700,000 m3 of untreated sewage and industrial wastes discharged by 50 outlets
located along the harbor and the bay (see attached map).
24. The bottom layer of water is heavily polluted by oil compounds (80-150 mg/l). As a
result of continuous oil spills, the sediments of the Bay are polluted by oil as well.
Some estimations are from 2.9 to 4.5 million tons of oil substances have been deposited in
the sediments of the 5-meter deep bay. Also, there is a lack of benthic organisms in the
central part of the bay, and there are occurrences of zooplankton and fitobenthos on the
stones. The bacterioplankton flora are dominated by saprofits. The bottom part of the
water is inhabited by anaerobic organisms or sedimentation organisms.
25. From spring until early autumn, anaerobic processes appear in the lower part of the
bay of H2S and ammonia. Biological life is represented by bacteria and zooplankton and
fitobenthos (diatomea) in the Shihowskij Plose area. In the bay, fish appear sporadically
with a broad variety of parasites and pathogenic changes on their bodies in form of red
patches, ulcers, or genetic changes of the organs.
C. Environment and Health Issues
26. The main findings of the environmental analysis showed that low quality of drinking
water and related health risk are mainly caused by the poor condition of both water supply
and sewage systems in the city, which creates the potential for cross-contamination of the
drinking water by leaking sewage and industrial wastes.
27. Lack of adequately designed special waste disposal sites, which would meet sanitary
requirements for toxic waste; damage to sewage pipes; the absence of sewerage in some
districts of Baku; poorly operated reservoirs and water distribution networks; and
excessive air pollution-all have aggravated the ecological situation of the Apsheron
Peninsula and the City of Baku, and negatively affected the health of the population. The
total incidence of the medically determined waterborne and water diseases in Baku has
remained relatively stable over the last 10 years at between 634 to 797 per 100,000
population, but with a significant rise to 985 in 1993.
28. Whereas in the Baku diseases can be related to several causes, in the city of
Sumgait there is a clear link between diseases there and industrial activities. Some of
the chemicals produced there are carcinogens, especially chlororganic products such as
hexachlorane, DDT, Lindane, etc. Others cause severe birth defects and embriotoxic
effects. On average, 27 out of 1,000 newborns do not survive the first year and others are
affected by numerous illnesses. On the other hand, the majority of industrial plants in
Baku or the Apsheron Peninsula have been developed without environmental control equipment
or adequate buffer zones.
29. The only regions in Greater Baku where there is an evident relationship between the
quality of water and epidemic diseases are the Azbekov and Sabunhinsky regions, where it
is reported that about 30% of the population suffers from unacceptable water quality.
D. Environmental Institutions
30. Degradation of the environment in the Baku Metropolitan area can be largely
attributed to the inherent inefficiencies of a centrally planned economy. Centralized,
ineffective enforcement of environmental laws and standards, an inefficient system of
environmental management, and lack of public participation in the process of environmental
protection and management, has resulted in the degradation of the environment.
31. Most of the environmental issues described above result from lack of an
environmental legal and regulatory framework, including a permit system and appropriate
industrial zoning. Improvement of city planning based on realistic environmental standards
and regulations is a matter of urgency.
32. Environmental protection is currently under the supervision of the following
institutions: State Committee for Ecology and its regional offices, which is placed under
the authority of the Office of the President; the State Committee for Hydrometerology; the
Ministry of Agriculture; and the Ministry of Construction. In addition, within the
Ministry of Health, the Sanitary-Epidemiological Authority is responsible for monitoring
water quality relative to public health.
33. There is a urgent need to upgrade the existing environmental monitoring system in
two respects: first, the Baku Water Company will need to monitor water quality in the
reservoirs and distribution system in the city; and second Hydromet will need to monitor
the quality of the Kura river Samuron channel. Lack of resources caused a recent reduction
in existing potential to monitor water quality.
34. A significant amount of expertise and training will be required at all levels to
strengthen the enforcement capabilities for dealing with polluters who do not comply with
the conditions established by environmental permits and licenses.
35. The environmental monitoring structure system in the Republic has been developed
according to the past sectoral administrative division of the country, which involves a
number of ministries. In the past, four institutions were responsible for environmental
monitoring; the Water Management Committee; Comwodhos; Goscomgeologija; and Azgoshydromet.
All of them are now facing serious problems caused by the lack of financial resources. The
following institutions are additionally involved in environmental monitoring and research:
- Department of Water Supply and Canalization of the Azerbaijan Engineering Institute No.
2. The Construction Institute-standards of drinking water for the industrial sector;
- "Azwodgeo", Water Treatment Laboratory-hydraulics of the municipal network;
- International Ecoenergy Academy, Department of Water Ecosystems;
- Oil Academy-water and wastewater treatment processes;
- Laboratory for Water Treatment Technology; and
- Committee on Hydrogeology and Geology of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
36. There are 200 monitoring stations (sampling points) in the Republic where samples
are analyzed in several mobile and central laboratories. According to the Committee on
Ecology, these laboratories have the capacity to analyze all the main parameters,
excluding detergents and herbicides.
- a. Marine Monitoring. Nine vessels in service in 1990 under the; Hydromet,
Goskomecologia, Academy of Sciences, Yuzazrybwod; now only three of them are partially
involved in monitoring/research activity.
- i. Hydromet - two vessels and central stationary laboratory in Baku established nine
marine monitoring stations located along the sea coast. The measures covered the following
main hydrochemical parameters: oils, phenols, detergents, oxygen, visibility, and
ii. Goskomecologia - two vessels and central stationary laboratory in Baku
established monitoring stations focused mainly on oil pollution;
iii. Academy of Sciences - lack of resources caused the cancellation of all research
cruises and no scientific activity will continue.
b. Fresh Water Monitoring. There are 28 permanent monitoring stations established by
the Hydromet service located at 20 sites along the Kura river, and 14 stations on the
lakes. The following main elements are analysed: dissolved oxygen, BOD5, ammonia,
nitrates, nitrites, phenols, phosphorus, sulfates, hydrocarbons, detergents, Cu, Zn, Al,
Mn, Ti, Hg, and some pesticides;
c. Groundwater. Geological Committee has established a grid of 46 monitoring stations
where the main water quality parameters are measured;
d. Atmospheric Pollution. Monitoring of atmospheric pollution is done by the Azerbaijan
Hydromet. Available data show high levels of industrial discharges and pollutants caused
by vehicular transportation in the city of Baku.
E Legal and Regulatory Framework
37. Lack of adequate legal and regulatory framework in Azerbaijan creates an urgent
need to adopt a full package of environmental legislation and regulations that would
supersede and update the old and inefficient framework issued by the FSU. The legislation
and regulations to be revised and introduced should be transparent to all relevant
parties, and should be easily enforceable.
38. Currently, ambient standards for water, air, and soil quality are very stringent
and not compatible with the current institutional capacity of the environmental management
system in the country to encourage compliance. Adherence to those standards will either
force continued noncompliance, thereby weakening the credibility of environmental
protection activities, or close much of the country's industries.
39. According to the State Ecological Committee, several new legislative acts, based on
international experience and market economy conditions, covering a spectrum of
environmental issues were submitted to the Parliament of the Republic in the spring of
1994 and are awaiting passage. The national sanitary authority in cooperation with the
Ecology Commission have prepared a manual on national environmental standards that also is
awaiting action by the Parliament.
Table.1. Water Quality-Reservoirs and Distribution Points, September 1994
Location Bacteriological Indexes Physical and Chemical
No. of Did not No. of Do not meet
tests meet GOST Tests GOST 2874
2874 82 82 for
for Potable Potable
turbid residual smell
69 West 32 22 31 29 28 -
110 West 60 1 60 59 18 -
160 West 13 5 13 13 12 -
160 North 10 2 10 10 10 -
119 West 26 3 26 - 20 -
6 Kura II
station 13 13 13 13 -
station 10 3 8 7 8 -
Junction 1- 4 11 11 6 -
69 East 46 5 46 46 11 3Cl
110 East 6 5 6 6 6 -
126 East 6 6 6 6 6 -
network 107 15 108 92 91 -
water 7 2 10 10 10 -
TOTAL 346 76 346 298 247 6
1/ According to the State Ecological Committee, there is a significant problem with the
operation of reservoirs 69 East, 69 West, and 110 East, which suggests the bacteriological
pollution of the reservoirs.
2/ Maximum pollution with coloforms is registered in water from Surachami (46%),
Azizbekov (36.9%), yasamal (32.4%) and Mazurani (22%) districts.
3/ One pumping station has been constructed at lake Beyuk shor to pump water out of the
lake. Another one is under construction to intercept inflows from the Binangadi area.
Similar schemes are planned to reduce the water level in lakes Buly Bulya and Ganii Gel.
4/ For example, the "Bolnica Semashko" hospital, which has an isolation ward,
located in the central part of the city, is equipped with a septic tank that has a
capacity of 18,00 m3, with a daily discharge of 72 m3 of untreated or sterilized wastes
into the municipal wastewater network.
5/ The map at the end of the annex shows the location of the municipal and industrial
6/ Accodring to the State Ecological Committee, in 1993 alone, 80,000 tons of toxic
wastes from industrial activities accrued; and for the past 30 years, 15-20 million tons
of solid domestic wastes was accumulated at the city disposal site.