Grasshopper no 4, Autumn '94


continuation from 2nd issue

Down the river...

The Bug is monitored along a 587.2 km stretch, which constitutes its entire length in Poland. Research conducted during the 1970's concluded that "the river was beyond classification along 81.4% of its length."

Only a short stretch of 110 km from Muchawca to Toczna could be classified as third class water.

The Bug crosses into Poland near Kryłowa in the region of Zamo¶ć.

It is this 185 km stretch which has a great influence on the pollution levels in the river. In 1983 the level of biochemical oxygen demand over a five day period(BZT5) was 7 mg O2/dm3, while the chemical oxygen demand (ChZT) was 12 mg O2/dm3. In the border cross-section, the level of chlorides was measured at 95 mg Cl/dm3, diluted compounds 800 mg/l, suspension 80 mg/l (pzk), ammonium nitrate 2.5 mg/l (class II) and phosphates 1.8 mg/dm3 (pzk). No information exists on sources of pollution in the Ukraine. It can only be ascertained that the areas that are the sources of pollution are the coal mining industries in the Lwów - Wolyńska region and the city of Lwów.

The first source of pollution, which has been identified by the "Atlas of polluted rivers in Poland," is the town of Nowowołyńsk in the Ukraine (pop. 57,000). The saline waters that are diverted into the river from mining operations contain, above all, chlorides and solids in suspension. The next source is the Huczwa tributary, which has its drainage basin in the region of Zamo¶ć. Dairy works in Łaszczowa, sugar processing plants in Werbkowica, and sewage drainage from the town of Hrubieszow (pop. 20,000) all contribute to the levels of BZT and phosphates. A smaller impact can be noted from the sugar processing plants in Strzyżów - there are four such plants in the Zamo¶ć region.

In the lower reaches of the river there can be noted an increase in the concentration of ammonium nitrate and ChZT. Chełm, the second city in the drainage basin (pop. 68,000) discharges its waste water into the Uherka. The effect is large increases in the level of pollution of that river, and secondly, an increase in the concentrations of BZT and ChZT in the river Bug. In Chełm can be found two cement works, glass works, fruit and vegetable processing plants, plus chalk and metallurgical industries. The second river in the Chełm region is the Włodawka, which together with the town of Włodawa (pop 15,000) and its various industries contributes to the increase in levels of BZT and ChZT, as well as in concentrations of chlorides and particles in suspension.

In the voivodeship of Bialskopodlaska, the Muchawiec River adds to the levels of ChZT, while the river Krzna does not have a marked influence on measurements. On a tributary of the Krzna River lies the town of Biała Podlaska (pop. 55,000) which includes such industries as woolen mills, timber processing, machinery, and food, as well as ¶uków (pop. 32,000) with its related industries such as large shoeworks, food industries, slaughterhouses, dairies, building products, and textiles. A smaller town is Międzyrzecz Podlaski (pop. 18,000) which exhibits similar industries as well as transport and timber services.

On the Belorussian side of the Bug is the Leona River, which has its source in Poland near Hajnówka. The following towns can be found in the region: Siemiatycze (pop. 15,000) and ¶osice (pop. 6,000) which have industries such as tannery works, chalk works, and dairies. The Toczna river joins the Bug around Drohiczyn and increases the level of BZT as well as the concentrations of suspended solids and phosphates.

In the region of Podlasie the Nurzec and Cetynia rivers join the Bug.

The Cetynia carries wastes from the town of Sokołów Podlaski (pop. 18,000) which has the following industries: sugar processing, slaughterhouses, and small scale timber and leather works. In the region of Brok can be found the railroad junction of Małkina, where cement works and the prefabrication of concrete building materials are predominant. These industries contribute to the increase of ammonium nitrate in the area.

The last large tributary of the Bug is the Liwiec River which collects wastes from the voivodeship of Siedlce. In the drainage basin of the Liwiec river lie the towns of Siedlce (pop. 73,000), Węgrów (pop. 12,000), and ¶ochów (pop. 5,000), which all have similar industries including building materials, electrical works, dairies, and timber processing.

The last town before the confluence of the Bug is Wyszków (pop. 25,000), where a furniture factory, a glass-works, a brewery, and a subsidiary of FSO are found. This town's industries play a major role in the increase in pollutants in the river. The amount of heavy metals in the region of Wyszków is 549 ppm; in Popów it is 400 ppm; and in the upper reaches of the Huczwa River at Hrubieszów, the amount is only 287 ppm.

The Ukrainian towns and industries play a major role in the levels of pollution in the Polish section of the Bug River. Out of eight main indicators, five decrease immediately after the river enters Poland.

The amount of general suspended particles has been measured at 130 mg/l near Kryłów and 74 mg/l in Zosin near Ukraine, while further on at Kużawka and Krzyczew the levels were only 40 mg/l. Chlorides and sulphates decreased by nearly half (Kryłów had 94 mg/l and 170 mg/l respectively, while at Krzyczew the levels were 52 mg/l and 90 mg/l respectively). Smaller changes were found with respect to nitrogen levels. The concentration of nitrogen nitrate in Kryłów was measured at 6.7 mg/l, in Zosin it was 7.3 mg/l, near Dorohuska it was 8.6 mg/l, and at Kużawka and Krzyczew it was 1.1 mg/l. The ammonium nitrate level was 1.5 mg/l in Kryłów and 0.9 mg/l in Zosin, but in further reaches of the river it rose again to 1.1 mg/l.

According to measurements taken in the 1980's, only the levels of biochemical oxygen demands in a 5-day period and chemical oxygen demands determined by the chromate method were more dependent on pollution originating in Poland. The largest amount of organic substances identified with the help of BZT5 was recorded in Sławatycza (17.1 mg/l), while the lowest amount was in Dorohuska (10.2 mg/l). The highest level of ChZT was recorded in Włodawa (64.7 mg/l), while the lowest level was recorded at Dorohuska (38.5 mg/l). The concentration of phosphorus was found to be in the 0.7 - 0.8 mg/l range.

There is an interesting methodology that was developed by the former RWPG (from 1982) to determine the norms of pollution levels. At no point on the Bug was the 100 mg/l norm for chlorides exceeded. However, for another stretch along the border - Szelmentki, below Kupowo Lake - there was a stricter norm of 25 mg/l of chlorides, which no measurement in the Bug could meet. A similar trick was employed for the measurement of ammonium nitrates (a norm of 2 mg/l was used instead of the normal 0.5 mg/l norm).

Nevertheless, even with the raising of norms (BZT from 4 to 8 mg/l, solids in suspension from 20 to 30-40 mg/l as well as sulphates from 50 to 100-150 mg/l), the results were above the norms set. The fecal coliform index, for which the norm was 0.01 cm3, was 2.5 times higher in the stretch between Włodawa and Krzyczew. In Sławatycza the total iron content exceeded the norm by 0.28 mg/l.

Tributaries of the River Bug


This river at Wyżyna Zachodniowołyńska is the left tributary in the central stretch of the Bug. It has a length of 75 km and a drainage basin of 1394 km2, with its source in the north-east of Tomaszów Lubelski.

It flows in a wide valley, and has a maximum high to low water fluctuation of 3 metres.

The Huczwa river is monitored over a 74.6 km stretch. In 1974 the water in the region of Laszowa was still regarded as being in the first class of purity (21.8 km). Effluents from the dairy works caused the water quality to deteriorate until it was beyond classification, but more recently, self-cleaning has allowed the water quality to improve to Class II & III. Beyond Hrubieszów, the river was badly polluted, falling into Class III or being beyond classification. A 17.4 km stretch was found to be generally beyond the established norms, 8.8 km fell into Class III, and 26.6 km fell into Class II. In the 1980's only a stretch of 21.8 km could be classified as Class II, while the rest was beyond classification.

The dairy in ¶aszowa as well as the sugar processing plant in Werbkowice have contributed to the increase in ammonium nitrates (BZT5 and ChZT indices). In addition, beyond ¶aszowa the amounts of phosphorus and solids in suspension increased. The town of Hrubieszów (population 20,000) contributed to the increase in levels of ammonium nitrate and phosphorus. In Grodka, prior to the confluence of the Huczwa and Bug rivers, the water was highly polluted with phosphates (1.07 mg/l).

There was also a noticeable increase in the concentrations of organic substances (BZT5 - 8.2 mg O2/l, ChZT -11.2 mg O2/l) and ammonium nitrate (1.36 mg/l) On the other hand, there were not high concentrations of solids in suspension (21.0 mg/l), sulphates (45.0 mg/l), chlorides (26.0 mg/l), and nitrogen nitrates (0.56 mg/l).


The Uherka is monitored over a stretch of 44.9 km. In the 1970's the water in the Uherka was of Class I quality over a stretch of 12.9 km before Chełm. Past Chełm, a stretch of 21.5 km was beyond classification, 3.7 km fell into Class III, and Class II water could be found in the last stretch of 6.8 km. In the 1980's the river before Chełm fell into Class II, while beyond Chełm it was beyond classification.

One of the major sources of pollution of the Uherka is the town of Chełm. Below the town, all indicies are exceeded a number of times and cause the water to be unclassifiable. The pollutants are diluted by the tributaries of the Uherka, the Styszówka, Garka, Lepietucha, and Gdola rivers. A combination of dilution and water treatment causes a drop in the levels of solids in suspension and diluted particles, but not of organic substances. In the region of Ruda, at the confluence of the Uherka and Bug rivers, the water exhibited high levels of contamination due to organic substances (BZT5 - 25.8 mg O2/l and ChZT - 25 mg O2/l.), ammonium nitrates (19.4 mg/l) and phosphates (13.5 mg/l). There also were quite a lot of solids in suspension (72.0 mg/l). The amounts of chlorides and sulphates were small (70.0mg/l and 69.0 mg/l, respectively), while nitrogen nitrates were very small (0.8 mg/l).


Where the Udal joins the Bug at Dorohuska, the water was highly contaminated with ammonium nitrates (1.17 mg/l). The water also included large amounts of organic substances (BZT5 - 5.9 mg O2/l; ChZT - 15.1 mg O2/l), solids in suspension (32.0 mg/l), and phosphates (0.5 mg/l). At the same time only small amounts of sulphates (69.0 mg/l), chlorides (23 mg/l), and nitrogen nitrates (0.92 mg/l) were found.

The above text was reprinted from the information newsletter of the "Clean Bug" group.


1 ppm = 1mg/kg (part per million - jedna czę¶ć na milion)

Grasshopper no 4, Autumn '94 | Contents