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How the Czech Republic contributed to the future rehabilitation of the former Batumi refinery

Various types of waste accumulating for years at the former oil refinery in Batumi created a tough ecological situation in the territory. With the financial support of the Czech Development Cooperation, Czech organization DEKONTA closely cooperated with the Autonomous Republic of Adjara, studied the degree of land and water pollution on the spot, identified the sources of contamination, and handed over the results of the research to the local government. The project experts also conducted a feasibility study of potential remedial measures for future land use.

The pollution of the former Batumi oil refinery

The former oil refinery of Batumi is located at the entrance of the city, from one side bordered by the Black Sea and from the other side – residential area. Various types of contamination have been accumulating here for many years, which poses serious threats to the environment. That is why the Autonomous Republic of Adjara had a great desire to identify the sources and amount of contamination and find financial resources for remediation of the area for its further residential and recreational use.

Within the frameworks of the Program for Czech Development Cooperation in Georgia, in November 2021, the project “Rehabilitation of an old refinery area in Batumi” was initiated. The project aimed at the reduction of threats to both environment and population in the area of an old oil refinery in the Batumi harbor as well as supporting the rehabilitation of the territory.

The first objective of the project was to identify sources of contamination within the former Batumi refinery complex through a detailed site investigation. Based on the sampling and results of laboratory analyses, an assessment of health and environmental risks resulting from contamination was carried out and the target parameters of remedial measures at the site were proposed.

For the second objective, a feasibility study of potential remedial measures was compiled following the results from the precedent steps. The study assessed the technical and financial aspects of the remedial measures. For the most suitable option, the project documentation for remedial measures were elaborated.

The important part of the project was the transfer of the Czech know-how in contaminated site management to the project partner in the form of training sessions, round tables, and the final workshop.

How the results of the project will help in the future land use

On April 21, 2023, the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Tbilisi hosted the workshop of the project where the participants learned about the results of the contamination study and the risk analysis of the former Batumi oil refinery. Jan Kukacka and Ondrej Urban, project experts from DEKONTA, presented the feasibility study with possible concepts for the remediation of the former Batumi refinery.

Following the workshop, we had an opportunity to sit down with Jan Kukacka, who is a Project Manager at DEKONTA, and discuss more about the importance of the project results.

At the initial stage, the project envisaged four different directions. The first part included the field activities at the site of the former Batumi refinery, which itself contained several sub-activities such as waste survey, groundwater and surface water survey, aiming to define the level of pollution of the site.

Based on the analytical results of soil and groundwater samples inside the former Batumi refinery, it can be concluded that the contamination is not spreading outside the refinery area into its surroundings. However, if the sources of pollution within the former Batumi refinery are not removed, there is a potential risk of pollution spreading off-site towards the Black Sea coast. The analytical evaluation also showed that none of the contaminants poses an environmental risk to the surface waters within the former Batumi refinery site.

The second part of the project was the elaboration of a risk assessment study defining extensiveness of risks at the site for both the environment and the population living nearby.

“The next activity is to prepare the remediation project for the Government of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara. But first, we had to carry out a feasibility study (presented at the Czech Embassy in Tbilisi today), defining which method of remediation is the most feasible for future residential or recreational use”. – says Kukacka.

He explains to us that the former Batumi refinery is hugely polluted by petroleum contamination which is directly linked to the history of the site – it was a petrol-chemical industrial area with a big refinery, operating for almost 100 years, since the beginning of 20th century. Identified hazardous waste must be disposed of and contaminated soil must be cleaned up.

“As a result of our field activities, feasibility study, and risk analysis, we defined the total amount of soil and waste that must be disposed. Now we are preparing a remediation project that works with these amounts and that will be the outcome of the whole project in August 2023. The project results will be handed over to the Government of Adjara and it is up to them to find the relevant sources of investments to carry out this remediation on the spot". – says Kukacka.

The Autonomous Republic of Adjara can now plan future steps

As mentioned, the Government of Adjara has been concerned about the issue of the former Batumi refinery for years. Jaba Phutkaradze, Minister of Finance and Economy of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara expresses special gratitude on behalf of the Georgian side to the Government of Czech Republic and shares his thoughts about further plans.

Mr. Phutkaradze explains that the first task of the project was to develop the methodology and create a document, within the framework of which this type of location should have been studied from the point of view of the pollution. Then, technical-economic research was needed. And only afterward it would be possible to think about how the remediation activities can be conducted for further land use.

“We are grateful for the support of the Czech Republic and all the involved parties. DEKONTA worked very efficiently – at a certain stage of the project, we had a challenge as the laboratories in Georgia could not analyze both soil and underground water, and it was necessary to send it to the Czech Republic. The result that we got through the project is a framework document that we will use for the remediation of other similar land as well. Now we have the feasibility study of the existing plot of land and we should seek further financial resources for remediation and the land’s subsequent use”. – says Phutkaradze.

In 2023, DEKONTA will support the project partner in compiling documents for the announcement of an international tender for suppliers of the remediation of the subject site.



Former oil rafinery in Batumi 108 KB JPG (Picture / Photo) Jul 26, 2023

Czech expert company Dekonta J. Kukačka 92 KB JPG (Picture / Photo) Jul 26, 2023

Workshop on FS of rehabilitation of oil rafinery 85 KB JPG (Picture / Photo) Jul 26, 2023

Minister of Finance and Economy of Adjara Autonomous... 58 KB JPG (Picture / Photo) Jul 26, 2023

Presenting the results of the project “Rehabilitation of... 91 KB JPG (Picture / Photo) Jul 26, 2023