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Water tests

Port of Gdańsk Authority SA is obliged to test the level of polluting substances in the surface waters of the port basins. This is currently performed at 7 points designated in the central sections of the port basins and at the entrance to the Inner Port: Pollutant tests are carried out annually in April and October and include the measurement of the following substances:

  • biochemical oxygen demand (BOD5)
  • chemical oxygen demand (COD)
  • pH
  • total suspension
  • lead
  • cadmium
  • zinc
  • petroleum hydrocarbons

Port of Gdańsk Authority SA wants to supplement the existing system controlling the pollution in Polish sea waters; therefore, in the near future, tests will be performed at additional points regarding additional biological and physicochemical parameters. Increasing the knowledge about the status of port waters should provide more reliable and accurate information about the state of the aquatic environment, as well as track changes in the environment. The tests are also supplemented by incidental exceeded values of individual parameters in some of the Port of Gdańsk basins. They should make it possible to better monitor the state of the waters and to assess the effects of incidental exceedances and pollution. Extending the scope of test is part of the so-called good environmental practices and an important hallmark of PGA SA, which always strives to improve the approach to the natural environment.

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Tests of bottom sediments in port channels

One of the tasks of Port of Gdańsk Authority SA is the construction, expansion, maintenance and modernisation of the port infrastructure. This includes port water bodies – fairways, canals, manoeuvring areas and basins. Dredging works are required for the maintenance of the navigation bottom of fairways and the depth at the quays, their renovation or reconstruction, and the construction of new quays or terminals. They consist in the partial removal of sediments accumulated at the bottom. Ships with a large hull draft passing through the port channel cause the movement of sediments, especially silty ones. This applies mainly to the channel axis and causes a slight shallowing in its central part and on each side of the fairway. Smaller ships that use their own propulsion check its operation at the quay by making from a few to a dozen or so turns of the propeller. Repeating this operation in the same place may cause local shallowing or deepening, exceeding the acceptable bottom depth tolerance. Periodic pre-cleaning dredging works are performed to remove the bottom shallowing in relation to the technical (operating) depths and the inclination of the underwater slopes in the reservoir. Before starting the task, the bottom sediments in the area of planned works are examined to determine whether the spoil is contaminated. The test is to determine the contents of:

  • arsenic
  • chromium
  • zinc
  • cadmium
  • copper
  • nickel
  • lead
  • mercury
  • polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
  • polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

The number of samples taken for testing depends on the expected volume of the dredging works. The tests of bottom sediments performed in most of the water bodies managed by PGA SA show that the dredged spoil is not contaminated and are suitable for disposal at sea.

Noise measurements

Port of Gdańsk Authority SA is obliged to perform periodic noise measurements. The last one was made in 2016. They take into account ship traffic, including noise from the operation of equipment and systems as well as the infrastructure used for the port activity and the infrastructure for transshipment located outside the premises of PGA SA, but related to the activity of the Port of Gdańsk. The measurements were made both during the day and at night. The tests were carried out for a total of 75 points located inside and outside the port area; to illustrate the noise emission by the port facilities over the water, 10 points were located in Gdańsk Bay within 500 m of the shore or port infrastructure. Measurements of the noise in the environment did not show any exceeded values during the day. At night, they occurred at three measurement points, with the maximum exceedance of 10.8 dB. These points were located on the border of areas requiring sound protection. According to the simulation, the exceeded values were road noise, not industrial noise related to handling operations. At night, those were much lower than the acceptable level of 45 dB.

Air pollution

In 2003, Port of Gdańsk Authority SA requested the development of the “Study of air protection for the Port of Gdańsk”. It covered areas under the authority’s control and those leased by clients whose activities caused emissions of pollutants into the air. Based on these documents, the Pomeranian Voivode issued permits to discharge gases and dust into the air. Wykonana analiza uciążliwości źródeł emisji na terenie portu wykazała, że na granicy poszczególnych terminali i spółek portowych oraz na granicy ZMPG SA nie występują przekroczenia wartości pyłu zawieszonego. The analysis of the nuisance of emission sources in the port area showed that there were no exceeded values of particulate matter on the border of individual terminals and port companies or on the border of PGA SA. In the following years, comprehensive inspections were carried out at PGA SA and in companies operating in port areas. These also showed no irregularities in emissions into the air. In 1996-2006, PGA SA modernised the heating system. The central coal-fired boiler room was closed and replaced with 9 new high-efficiency gas and oil boiler rooms and a heat pump. Several buildings were also thermally insulated. The modernisation led to a considerable environmental effect, reducing the amount of pollutants emitted into the air. Equivalent gas and dust emissions decreased by 98.9%. The ultimate reductions in air pollutant emissions are as follows: sulphur dioxide by 65.7 t/year, nitrogen dioxide by 6.2 t/year, carbon monoxide by 230.9 t/year, dust by 82.2 t/year, carbon dioxide by 8,111 t/year. At the same time, the port eliminated the emissions of benzo-a-pyrene (0.072 t/year) and soot (3.8 t/year) as well as fugitive emission from coal and combustion waste landfills (disposal of solid waste from the combustion of coal).

Waste management

Waste is collected from sea ships at the Port of Gdańsk in accordance with the Act of 12 September 2002 on port facilities for collecting waste and cargo residues (Journal of Laws No. 166 of 2002, item 1361) and the rules set out in the “Port plan for the management of waste and cargo residues from ships” approved by the decision of the Marshal’s Office of the Pomeranian Voivodeship No. DROŚ-SO.7240.10.2017 of 03.10.2017 [document PDF, 84 KB] Port of Gdańsk Authority SA ensures the collection of the following generated as a result of operation of sea ships, as listed in the MARPOL 73/78 Convention:

  • Waste oils and mixtures thereof
  • Solid waste
  • Sanitary sewage
  • Residues from flue gas treatment
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Combating threats and pollution

Activities related to combating threats and pollution at the Port of Gdańsk are carried out according to the “Plan for combating threats and pollution in port waters managed by Port of Gdańsk Authority SA” approved by the Director of the Maritime Office in Gdynia by decision no. 8201/5/04 of 02.12.2004. The plan was updated in April 2012 and approved by the Director of the Maritime Office in Gdynia by decision no. 076/46/12 of 22.06.2012. Potential sources of threats and pollution in port waters are:

  • sewer outlets for discharge of sanitary, industrial and rainwater sewage
  • transshipment processes at the quays
  • construction, renovation or maintenance works
  • operation of ships
  • collection of waste from ships

Any reported irregularities are immediately handled by the port fire service: Portowej Straży Pożarnej “FLORIAN” Sp. z o.o. or Straż Ochrony Portu Gdańsk Sp. z o.o. Emergency telephone number – 111 Municipal telephone number – (+48) 58 343 11 20


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