The lake is sited at a factory in the northern Estonian town of Narva that was "closely linked to the Soviet military," officials told ENDS Daily. An estimated 30 tonnes a day of water is seeping through a dam and across a narrow strip of land into the Finnish Bite, according to Denmark's environment protection agency.
Concerns in neighbouring countries have been fanned by a graphic eyewitness account of the problem in the latest issue of Danish weekly magazine, The Engineer. A reporter describes the stiffened grey plastic-like appearance of the waters in a lake "the size of 55 football pitches," and fears that the fragile dam could give way.
Officials are confident, however, that a planned euros 20m clean-up operation will avert this. Coordinated by the Helsinki-based Nordic Environment Finance Corporation, which invests in environmental companies in eastern Europe, work will involve reinforcing the landstrip with concrete and isolating the lake from groundwater in advance of a total clean-up in 2006 or 2007. Most of the money will come from Scandinavian donors and investors, with about euros 5m slated to come from the EU.
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