Lithuanian prosecutors on Monday launched an investigation into environmental pollution involving untreated wastewater in Klaipeda.
© DELFI / Rita Gečiūnaitė

Based on information from the Environmental Protection Department, Grigeo Klaipeda, a company operating in the seaport, is responsible for the pollution.

"Based on the initial pre-trial investigation, Grigeo Klaipeda might be the pollution source. No suspicions have been brought as part of this pre-trial investigation yet," the department said.

It also said its representatives and law enforcement officers inspected the area on Tuesday night and found untreated wastewater being released into the Curonian Lagoon from the aforementioned company's production building.

"Environmental damage might be valued at several million euros," the department said.

Environment Minister Kestutis Mazeika says the company must immediately stop pollution and compensate the environmental damage done.

"If the suspicions turn out to be true, the company must immediately halt the release of wastewater into the Curonian Lagoon and compensate for the damage to nature. It’s a deplorable example of irresponsible business when cynical pollution of nature took place to save investment into environmental protection measures," the minister said in a comment sent to BNS.

Specialists from the Environmental Protection Department have ordered the company to immediately halt pollution. The department also plans to carry out an unplanned inspection at the company and investigation that will also involve the assessment of environmental damage based on the amount of released wastewater.

Environmental pollution in Lithuania is punishable by a fine, arrest or up to six years in prison.

Prosecutor: pollution exceeds norms hundreds of times

Gina Skersinskyte, a Klaipeda prosecutor leading the investigation, told BNS that searches had been carried out at the company and some documents were seized.

"Searches have been carried out at the company and we are trying to look for documents and plans showing how they installed that alleged bypass pipe. We will then decide on the status of persons and who witnesses are and who suspects are," Skersinskyte said.

"A number of documents have been taken, related to the wastewater treatment system, including laboratory tests, schemes, correspondence regarding the quality of wastewater treatment. We want to know how long it's been taking place," the prosecutor said.

In her words, damage to nature could stand at "millions", adding, however, that it's too soon to say exactly as pollution exceeded the norms hundreds of times.

"We know that some figures exceed one hundred and more times. This is production wastewater. The company produces cardboard, paper, cellulose, so that's the nature of this production wastewater," Skersinskyte said.

In her words, it's too soon to say if that pollution was the cause of the foul smell that's been felt in Klaipeda recently.

No comment from the company

Tomas Eikinas, managing director at Grigeo Klaipeda, refrains from commenting on the ongoing investigation.

"I will refrain from any comment as I have been working for the second month only," he said, adding that he didn’t know about the possible violations until the probe.

"I still need to look into this situation myself," the managing director said.

Following reports that Grigeo Lietuva allegedly caused pollution in Klaipeda, trade in Grigeo shares were halted on Tuesday.

BNS
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