The main pollution source in the catchment is the "Pechenganikel" smelter, operating since 1946. Prior to the "Pechenganikel" company the Finns operated the smelter a few years before and during 2 world war.From 1971 Norilsk high-sulphur copper-nickel ore, containing 30% of sulphur was used. Sharp increase of sulphur emissions in 1974 (+150 000 t/year) is caused by increased use of the Norilsk ore. Yearly emissions account for 512 tons nickel, 308 tons copper and 20 tons cobalt.
Air-borne pollution load to the Pasvik River catchment is mainly from local air pollution by the "Pechenganickel" smelter emissions, but also, to less extent, long range transboundary airborne pollution. The prior pollutant to the water catchment is anthropogenic sulphur. It is shown that pollution by Ni, Co, Cu, Sr, Mg, Ca and S compounds are mainly a result of smelter emissions (Makarova and Ratkin, 1991).The water catchment of Kuetsyarvi has the highest depositions of pollutants. The annual Ni deposition here ranges from 30 to 160 mg/m2 and anthropogenic sulphur from 600 to 1700 mg/m2. On the major part of the Pasvik River catchment the annual nickel precipitation is less than 100 mg/m2 and anthropogenic sulfur 300 - 700 mg/m2.
According to HYDROMET data (1990-1992) the river Kolosjoki is also polluted by toxic organic matters, e.g. phenols - 3 -14 µg/l, hexachloroethane - 2 - 53 µg/l, lindan 3 - 69 µg/l and oil products 26 - 360 µg/l.
In addition to industrial wastes the Kolosjoki Stream and Kuetsyarvi also receive domestic sewage (13 000 ton/yea) from the Nikel town (30 000 inhabitants). On the bank of the Pasvik River there also are situated a number of small Russian and Norwegian settlements with municipal wastes containing nutrients accelerating the process of eutrophication.
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