Water protection and wastewaters

The Environment Department monitors compliance with the Water Act and the Act on Water Services, and controls water protection. In addition, the Department observes the impact of refineries, landfills and land and snow dumping sites on waters, determines disputes and applications related to trenching and wastewater conduction, and processes exemption applications.

Environmental Health Services controls the quality of domestic water and water in public beaches.

The Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority (HSY) is responsible for domestic water supply, transfer of waste and rainwaters, and wastewater cleaning.

Wastewater in sparsely populated areas

If a property is not connected to public sewage system, the owner or holder of the property must ensure that wastewaters are treated according to relevant requirements. Wastewater treatment is regulated by the Environmental Protection Act (527/2014) and the Government Decree on Treating Wastewater in Areas Outside Sewer Networks (VNA 157/2017).

The property owner must have a detailed description of the wastewater system installed coupled with operating and maintenance instructions. The description and instructions are stored at the property and presented to the supervising authority upon request.

The wastewater system needs to be renovated by 31 October 2019 if the property is located no more than 100 metres of a watercourse or the sea, or if the wastewater treatment system of the property is located in groundwater area used for water supply.

A property may be exempted from the renovation if the volume of wastewater is very small, or if the resulting costs are considered unreasonable.

New or modified wastewater systems are subject to an operation permit issued by the Building Control Department.

For more information on treatment requirements and wastewater system safety distances, please see the City of Espoo environmental protection regulations. Note that in some areas, wastewater has to be collected in enclosed tanks.

Application for exemption from joining water supply plant’s water, sewage and stormwater system

According to the Act on Water Services (119/2001), a property located inside a water supply plant’s area of operation has to be connected to the water, sewage and stormwater system of the said plant. The Act seeks to ensure high-quality domestic water and adequate sewage and stormwater disposal in terms of health and environmental protection.

The Espoo Environment Department may, based on an application, exempt a property from joining the water, sewage and stormwater system as provided for by Sections 10 and 17b of the Act on Water Services as per grounds specified in Sections 11 and 17c of the said Act.

Protection of waters against nitrates from agricultural sources

The Government Decree on the Restriction of Discharge of Nitrates from Agriculture into Waters, or the Nitrates Decree, applies to all animal shelters, field use and horticulture. The Decree contains provisions concerning, inter alia, soil fertilisation, the use and storage of livestock manure, silage effluent recovery, as well as the placement of livestock shelters and exercise areas.

In addition, the environmental protection regulations include provisions regarding stables and manure treatment.

Report oil spills

Due to risk of water pollution, all oil and chemical spills must be immediately reported to emergency number 112.