The European Investment Bank (EIB) has provided a EUR 100 million long-term loan to the Helsinki Region Environmental Services (HSY- Helsingin seudun ympäristöpalvelut -kuntayhtymä) to finance the construction of a wastewater treatment plant at a new location in Blominmäki, Espoo. The energy efficient plant will perform to very high environmental standards and replace an ageing plant serving several municipalities in the Helsinki region.

Planned to be operational from the end of 2020, the new plant will treat in 2040 the wastewater of a population of 550 000 and occupy a surface area of approximately 13 hectares, of which 10 underground.

In recognition of the sensitive ecosystem of the Baltic Sea, the plant is designed to treat the wastewater to very high standards, surpassing the goals of EU urban wastewater treatment legislation and local environmental objectives. The sewage sludge will be treated and digested to produce biogas. Heat produced during the plant’s operation will also be recovered efficiently, resulting in thermal energy generation in excess of the plant’s consumption. Residual solids will be processed further into agricultural fertilizers with a high organic and nutrients content.

Jonathan Taylor, EIB Vice-President responsible for lending in Finland, stated: “Support for sustainable drinking water supply services, wastewater treatment and improvement of aquatic biodiversity is one of the goals of the European Investment Bank. We are glad to be partnering with HSY in this project, as it will significantly reduce the pollution of receiving waters by sewage, address climate risks through energy recovery and improve conditions for the inhabitants of the Helsinki region and the Baltic Sea generally.”

Raimo Inkinen, HSY Executive Director added: “This new wastewater treatment plant is a large and long-term investment, for which exceptionally long-term financing is required. To this end, the EIB is able to provide a sustainable and effective financing solution commensurate with the expected life cycle of the new plant.”

The project will also provide important social and economic benefits in the region through the employment of some 1500 people during the construction phase.

For projects of this kind, it is the diversification of funding sources and long maturities offered by the EIB that public sector entities like the Helsinki Region Environmental Services find attractive.