The preliminary damage caused by the December sewage spill in central Vilnius stands at 450,000 euros, says Marius Svaikauskas, the head of the Vilnius Regional Environment Protection Department.
Sinkhole opens in the frofron of Barclays building in Vilnius

"The preliminary damage will total approximately 450,000 euros, and will claim it from the guilty party," the environment specialist said at the parliament's Environment Protection Committee on Wednesday.

He spoke after the municipal waters supplier Vilniaus Vandenys (Vilnius Water) said earlier in the day that the ecologic disaster on Upes Street in the Lithuanian capital last December had resulted in the spillage of about 30,000 cubic meters of untreated sewage in the River Neris. The information was submitted to the Environment Ministry conducting a probe into the accident.

The environmentalists calculated the damages by the amount and concentration of pollutants in the River Neris.

Sv aikauskas also criticized the decision taken by the municipality's task force for emergency situations to allow spilling the wastewater into the river.

"The option was the most hazardous for the environment," he added.

Before the emergency situation was called, environmental agencies had issued written instructions to Vilniaus Vandenys to "prevent the wastewater from entering the River Neris at any cost," he added.

Officials of the municipality maintain the instructions could not be followed, as this would have required cutting off water supplies for some of the parts of the Lithuanian capital, including the large hospitals of Santariskiu and Antakalnio.

Two sewer mains were broken when a large sinkhole opened up on Dec. 23 on a parking lot under construction near Barclays' office building in Upės Street in central Vilnius. An emergency situation was called due to the accident.

The ecologic disaster resulted in the spillage of about 30,000 cubic meters of untreated sewage in the River Neris, Vilniaus Vandenys (Vilnius Water) said.

"According to expert estimates, about half of the sewage consisted of surface water and rainwater, as household wastewater and surface wastewater systems are connected in a part of the city," the company said in a press release on Wednesday.

The spillage was successfully decreased by reducing the water supply pressure for some neighborhoods of the Lithuanian capital, as well as considerable decrease in water consumption and sewage output by Vilnius residents, reads the communique.

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