Local water monitoring in Norway

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During 2015 the six Norwegian Elkem plants have monitored their surrounding water bodies.

The monitoring programmes done by Elkem Salten, Elkem Thamshavn and Elkem Bjølvefossen, were mainly designed and performed to monitor possible run-off from existing or previous landfill sites, whereas the Elkem Carbon and Elkem Solar monitoring programs in Kristiansand were designed to take into account regulated discharge to water. The plant-specific water monitoring programs are in compliance with the Norwegian and European water regulations and were approved by the Norwegian Environment Agency early in 2015. Elkem Bremanger had the most extensive program, monitoring both potential run-off from landfills and regulated water discharge. With the exception of Elkem Salten and Elkem Thamshavn, water monitoring has been an ongoing activity for almost a decade or more at the other Norwegian Elkem plants.

The water monitoring results were mostly as expected. Key parameters like levels of heavy metals and organic compounds in blue mussels and sediment levels from landfill run-off at Elkem Salten, Elkem Bjølvefossen and Elkem Thamshavn seem to be very low. The environmental status of the Nordgulen (Elkem Bremanger) and Kristiansand fjords (Elkem Solar and Elkem Carbon) are more complex, due to various past and present activities from both industrial parties and the local community.

Feedback will be given to each plant regarding the continuation and frequency of water monitoring by the Norwegian Environment Agency in medio 2016. For water bodies in Norway that are at risk of not achieving ‘Good Chemical’ or ‘Good Ecological’ status within 2021, the agency plans to address risk reducing measures during the autumn of 2016.