To break the mould: Nizhnekamskneftekhim shows young ecologists how to run eco-friendly business
It Will Get Clear environmental organisation uniting active and not indifferent youth of Tatarstan visited Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC. A busy programme awaited the guests in one of Europe’s largest enterprises: the familiarisation with the main plants and an excursion to biological treatment facilities where a unique sewage treatment method — biofiltration — is used.
Environmental force in Nizhnekamsk
It Will Get Clear is not only a pompous slogan or promise. It is also a powerful environmental movement created with the support of the Tatarstan Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources. Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov personally opened the youth organisation in 2015.
Over the five years of their activity, the activists have created and implemented hundreds of environmental projects and programmes, spearheaded tens of campaigns to plant trees, protect animals, collect recyclables and much more.
The young ecologists arrived in Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC to see first-hand how the enterprise works to save the environment. The trip was organised with the help of the Tatarstan Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources. Competitors of ProEco contest of environmental research expressed special interest in the excursion.
“Our movement conducts educational activity about the environment, science is one of the areas. We create a green community of students and see what scientific developments are available, what knowledge is in demand. Institutions have their own programmes, but they can’t go to enterprises. Our goal is to open doors to the lads. Such trips broaden the horizon. Students talk with practitioners, share their ideas, take something into consideration,” said head of It Will Get Clear youth environmental movement Dilara Satikova.
From production to packaging
The familiarisation with Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC began with Plastics Plant. The activists saw the production of end products and visited an exhibition of commodities. Every member of the excursion received a souvenir — polystyrene granules.
After that, the young ecologists headed to Butyl Rubber Plant. Petrochemists showed how rubber batches are packaged. Then the guests visited Nizhnekamskneftekhim’s R&D Centre. It includes 12 laboratories, an industrial testing shop and auxiliary services. Over 120 patents on inventions have been obtained together with plant workers as co-authors in the last 20 years.
Reconstruction of the century
A trip to biological treatment facilities was no less impressive. The unique environmental protecting facility was reconstructed in two stages and now meets the latest technologies. All urban and industrial sewage ends up here, air treatment efficiency reaches 95%.
A new domestic sewage reception room, bar screen building, modern aerated sand traps, a mixer for household and chemically contaminated sewage, a washout pumping station, cable bridges were created when the domestic sewage mechanical treatment unit was reconstructed. Steam and gas mixture decontaminating units from the bar screen building, sand traps and mixers were assembled too.
Physically obsolete mechanical treatment facilities were replaced during the reconstruction of the chemically contaminated sewage mechanical treatment unit — sand traps, a switching chamber of chemically contaminated sewage tanks were built, and additional degrees of treatment were added to the process flow — a basic to catch particles and a sewage preaeration unit. To prevent air pollution, there are biological gas treatment units to decontaminate the gas phase from preaerators and retention basins.
Complex organic compounds, which are part of sewage, break down to carbon dioxide and water in aerated lagoons with the help of active silt, which contains hundreds of different bacteria and protozoa. Every physiological group of bacteria in active silt uses different classes of substances as a source of carbon nutrition.
Methylotrophs clean sewage from methanol and formaldehyde, pseudomonads remove benzene and heavy hydrocarbon derivatives, nitrifying organisms get rid of ammoniacal nitrogen in the water, which is harmful to natural water bodies.
A new off-site industrial and stormwater sewage tank 15 kilometres in length was built to uninterruptedly transport sewage from the Nizhnekamsk Industrial Hub.
The reconstruction of the BTF and construction of a new industrial and stormwater sewage have become the key projects in recent years.
Breaking the mould
The trip was summed up during a round-table talk at Nizhnekamsk Chemical Technological Institute. The activists of It Will Get Clear movement shared impressions interrupting each other in a friendly atmosphere.
“The scale is impressive. The factory is huge where one can feel the care about the environment. It has amazed me in the BTF that microorganisms participate in the sewage treatment phase. We have seen the quality of incoming sewage, what metamorphoses happen to it,” said a member of It Will Get Clear youth environmental movement Pavel Andreyev.
“I didn’t know such technology as sewage treatment existed. We have seen modern BTF, we have things to tell our colleagues,” Radmila Tabayeva continued.
The petrochemists told the activists that over 60 environmental measures for more than 828 million rubles had been taken in 2020 alone. They include repairs of cooling towers, pumps and manufacturing equipment were replaced for hermetic, over 12,000 square metres of water pipelines and sewerage were substituted, the water consumption metering system developed.
Around 6,700 trees were planted by employees of Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC in 2019-2020 within a new 495 MW steam and gas power plant project and high-voltage power lines. Corridors of the line partly crossed green areas, which required felling them.
The workers of Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC planted three trees instead of one that was cut down.
“We demonstrated to the youth how effectively our plants operate. Thanks to the long-term scheduled operation, the company significantly reduced the amount of harmful emissions into the atmosphere, river water consumption and simultaneously increased the output. Precisely a careful attitude to nature is one of the key priorities of Nizhnekamskneftekhim,” noted Oleg Grishakov, vice chief engineer in Environmental Protection, head of the Environmental Safety Department at Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC.
During the round-table talk, the young ecologists and petrochemists agreed to cooperate further, conduct joint campaigns and host events. At the end of the meeting, the activists presented the workers of Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC memorable gifts — an eco-friendly bag for food and a green T-shirt with the emblem of It Will Get Clear.