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The Ministry of Science and Environmental Protection – Directorate for Environmental Protection of the Republic of Serbia and the Ministry for the Environment and Territory of the Republic of Italy, in the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding “Cooperation on environmental protection”, developed a number of initiatives towards the joint promotion of sustainable development.

On the basis of the conclusion of the activities undertaken by the UNEP Balkan Task Force, that identified the South Zone Industrial Complex (SZIC) of Pančevo as one of the most critical environmental hot spots in the Republic of Serbia, and on the basis of the “Environmental monitoring and sustainable requalification of selected industrial areas in the Republic of Serbia” undertaken by the the Ministry for the Environment and Territory of the Republic of Italy, in October 2004 the Ministry of Science and Environmental Protection of the Republic of Serbia and the Ministry for the Environment and Territory of the Republic of Italy launched the “Pančevo Action Program within the event “L’Italia a Belgrado 2004” as a pilot integrated project promoted and financed by the Italian Ministry of Environment, Land and Sea.
The SZIC is consists of three plants: HIP Azotara (fertilizer plant), HIP Petrohemija (petrochemical plant) and NIS Refinery (petroleum derivates).
Several environmental problems had to be urgently addressed in the Pančevo area, such as:
  • surface water pollution and ground water contamination, caused by uncontrolled release of chemicals during NATO bombing of the Industrial Complex in 1999, as well as past and present emissions of chemicals and the past subsoil and sediments contamination;
  • air pollution from industrial emissions;
  • contamination of surface soil from spills and leaks of hydrocarbons, as consequence of the NATO bombing, and from the uncontrolled disposal of hazardous wastes;
  • risks of industrial accidents (including explosion and contamination from toxic substances) affecting the safety of the industrial and adjacent residential areas.

The South Zone Industrial Complex of Pančevo represents a strategic resource for Serbian national economy. It is located close to the town and it is strictly linked with it, in economic, social and environmental terms. These environmental risks involve the 130,000 inhabitants in the Municipality and 7,000 workers in the industrial areas; air emissions affect the city and the region of Belgrade, while the wastewater discharges into the Danube could have downstream and even trans-boundary effects on the water quality of the rivers. 

The main objectives of the Program were:

  • the environmental governance and management in the public and private sector;
  • the identification of the environmental risks and “hot spots” in the industrial and urban areas;
  • the implementation and the compliance with the international environmental Conventions and Protocols, including United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol;
  • the promotion of the best available technologies in reducing the consumption of the natural and energy resources, in protecting the water and air quality, in managing the urban and hazardous wastes;
  • the use of renewables, to address the internal energy demand, using innovative tools to promote energy market as the Clean Development Mechanism foreseen under the Kyoto Protocol, and the Tradable Renewable Energy Certificates.
The “Program” implementation was coordinated by CETMA, a consortium among the Italian Agency for Energy and Environment (ENEA), Italian University institutions, technology partners and SME’s, with the support of several qualified experts from public and private Italian entities, such as the Italian National Research Council (atmospheric pollution), D’Appolonia (energy/environment assessment and design), Consorzio GAIA (waste management sector) and SGI-Studio Galli Ingegneria (water and wastewater sector). The Serbian team was composed by representatives of the Municipality of Pančevo, local institutions in charge of environment and risk management, representatives of the main industries in SZIC and Civil Society and other stakeholders invited by the Municipality.
In order to implement the ”Program”, the Italian Ministry for the Environment and Territory, in agreement with the Serbian Ministry and with the involvement of the Municipality, has opened at the beginning of February 2005 a local office in Pančevo aimed at establishing a focal point for the exchange of experiences and information concerning the problems encountered in the management of the environment and health risks, at assisting the local institutions in reducing the effective or possible impacts of industrial activities to the environment, as well as at defining a strategy for a sustainable requalification of the South Zone Industrial Complex.
The team of Serbian and Italian experts based in Pančevo worked in coordination with the special unit of the Ministry for the Environment and Territory of the Republic of Italy (Task Force for Central and Eastern Europe), active and operational in Belgrade.
On the basis of a series of valuable meetings with all the government and industrial stakeholders involved, the “Pančevo Action Program” identified a set of 10 priority interventions covering 7 main sectors, i.e. a) air quality; b) water quality; c) waste management; d) soil and water remediation; e) environmental and risk monitoring; f) energy efficiency and renewable energies and g) training and capacity building.
In the sector of air quality, a dedicated Industrial Air Pollution Management System was designed and installed. The objective was the preliminary assessment of the actual industrial air pollution situation in the Pančevo area through the installation of saturation stations equipped with passive samplers (measuring SO2, NOx, NH3, O3, BTEX and total NMHC) and supplementary methods (targeted on particulate matter samplers - PM10 and PM2,5). During the project, a dedicated training sessions has been organized in Serbia and in Italy in order to provide the local technicians with proper know-how and expertise in the use of air monitoring instruments. In addition, two mobile units was provided: an Emergency Monitoring Mobile Unit, able to quickly sample and analyze hazardous pollutants in case of industrial accidental release and an Industrial Emission Control Mobile Unit, able to characterize the emitted pollutants and to evaluate the calibration of the future Continuous Emission Monitoring systems. This project was preparatory to the identification, prioritisation and design of the needed emission reduction measures on the main industrial sources.  
In the water quality sector, a Due Diligence on Water and Sanitation Services in the area was implemented. In the framework of this intervention, a preliminary assessment of the existing sewer system components was developed, with particular reference to the sanitation network and ancillary facilities as well as the status, performance and level of service of infrastructures. In addition, a detailed analysis of the existing sewage mains was implemented, for both sizing and operational aspects. The water discharge quality was also assessed with reference to its compliance with environmental regulations and standards for water discharge limits. The ultimate goal was critical assessment of the possible design options for the Implementation of the Wastewater Treatment Facilities in the area, with the collaboration of the involved authorities. 
In the field of waste management, municipal solid waste collection, treatment and disposal in the area required urgent interventions in order to improve the management procedures and to contain the related environmental impacts. Within the “Program”, the preparation of a Municipal Solid Waste Management Plan was undertaken, completed by the preliminary evaluation of the suitable waste treatment options. The activities were conducted with reference to the territory of both Pančevo and the surrounding municipalities, as indicated by the relevant national waste management strategies. A specific project, focused only on Pancevo Municipality area, called Technical Support in the Urban Waste Sector has been developed and its implementation is in progress.
In the Pančevo industrial area, industrial waste was disposed without specific safety procedures. The Waste Management Plan for Industrial Wastes initiative provided assessment of the regulatory framework and the inventory of the industrial waste sources, quantities and characteristics in the area. The project provided the baseline data for the development of a sector Master Plan, with a preliminary evaluation of the possible waste treatment options (landfilling, physical treatment, chemical stabilization, incineration, etc.).
Another specific project in the industrial waste sector was developed, Sludge Lagoon Mitigation Plan, focused on the topics related to rehabilitation interventions of the Sludge Lagoon, which is at present used as landfill for the liquid waste generated by wastewater treatment currently handling the industrial streams coming from HIP Petrohemija Waste Water Treatment Plant.
With regard to soil and water remediation, several sites in the Pančevo industrial area are affected by soil contamination due to uncontrolled release of the chemicals during NATO bombing as well as hydrocarbons spills and leaks from storage tanks, pipelines and treatment units. A pilot project forthe Remediation of Hydrocarbon Soil Contamination was implemented at theNIS Oil Refinery, aimed at demonstrating the most effective remediation techniques. After selecting a representative site out of the “hot spots” located within the plant, the extension and level of contamination were assessed on the basis of the characterization activities undertaken in the past and of specific new site investigations and a suitable set of remedial actions adopted (based to the maximum extent on state-of-the-art in situ and on site technologies). 
A second initiative of interest in this sector was theClean-up of the Pančevo CanalThe Wastewater Canal, directly connected with the Danube River, receives wastewater from the plants within the South Zone Industrial Complex. Bottom sediments are reported to contain industrial waste materials. Several initiatives were proposed in the recent years for the clean-up of the canal; the remediation design was based on a 2002 field campaign and lead to the selection of the Thermal Desorption treatment option. This solution was not compatible with the funds made available by the international financial organizations and did not account for potential health and environmental risks associated with the sediment mobilization. After having performed detailed canal bottom sediment and canal water investigation a series of remedial technologies for the clean-up have been assessed by means of preliminary studies to detect the best solution.  Laboratory treatability tests were also performed in order to identify the most efficient and cost-effective solution, also developing a specific health and environmental risk analysis associated with dredging operations. 
In the field of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy a set of interventions for energy efficiency improvement in selected industrial sites located in the Pančevo area has been identified through energy audits. The main objective is to help the sustainable development of the industries and decrease the air emissions, notably CO2, taking also in account the opportunities of the Kyoto Protocol flexible mechanisms.
In this sector two specific projects have been implemented: Energy Efficiency Optimization in Industrial Sites and District Heating Optimization – Preliminary Assessment and Feasibility Study.
The first project means to develop energy saving and process units optimization on the HIP Azotara plant (fertilizer plant) beginning by technical assessment of the productive phases and energy investigation. The second project mainly focuses on the identification of priority interventions for the existing heating system optimization in the Pančevo territory and the preparation of a feasibility study for the selected initiatives.
In order to address the environmental and risk monitoring, two initiatives were implemented. The New Environmental Monitoring Systemwas designed and started at the NIS Oil Refinery, with the objective of verifying the compliance with the legislative limits and quantifying both the annual emissions from the plant (air emissions, liquid discharges, solid wastes, sludges, noise emissions, water intake) and the ambient air quality at plant boundaries. The project took off from the evaluation of the characteristics and management procedure of the monitoring system currently in place, in order to optimise the preliminary design of the new system. In addition, a Health Safety Environment (HSE) Management Systemwas developed on the HIP Azotara plant, with the objective of demonstrating the advantages of a proper HSE approach for the overall sustainable management of the selected pilot plant, thus reducing the risk of accidents below the average industrial standards. In the early stage of the project, the assessment of the current HSE management procedures as well as of the structure of the new HSE management system was conducted, in order to minimize or avoid possible negative impacts on health, safety or environment during plant operation.
In the sector of training and capacity building, several technical training and capacity building courses were developed, involving the local experts and the representatives from the local and central government and from the industrial plants. In first half of 2005 three courses were held, concerning a) water quality and wastewater treatment design; b) waste management and energy recovery from waste; and c) energy management and energy efficiency in industrial plants, updating on the EU environmental requirements and on the most recent technological and managerial advancements in the relevant environmental sectors.
Additional initiatives are presently under evaluation, to be included in the further phases of development of the “Pančevo Action Program”. Based on its demonstrative approach, the “Program” represents a pilot integrated project aimed at providing guidelines and strategies for the whole Balkan Area.

Pancevo Action Program – Current Status

After the closure of the IMELS office in Pancevo at the end of 2007 all the activities are coordinated from the Belgrade office. Among all the projects developed under the Pancevo Action Program the following few have reached the most advanced phase.

Technical Support in the Urban Waste Sector

The Technical Support in the Urban Waste Sector is one of the projects in the framework of Pancevo Action Program which will be realized. The fund for the realization of this project has been secured through the “Protocolo Antonione” fund managed in Serbia by Italian Cooperation.
The project has been modified after a series of institutional and technical meetings aimed at finalizing the project approach and meeting the needs of the City of Pancevo.
The realization is in the advanced phase at the moment. The international tender for the waste management equipment has been published in April ’09 and closed on June 19th 2009. The winner has been selected and the equipment is expected to arrive in Pancevo in July/August 2010.
The obligation of the City of Pancevo is to prepare all infrastructures necessary to receive the equipment purchased through the tender. One of the main is a building (around 1,000m2) for installation of bailing press with auxiliary equipment for packaging of separately selected waste.
latest activity

 Waste Water Treatment Plant

In the sector of water quality a project of Extension and Upgrading of the Sanitation Facilities and Implementation of the Wastewater Treatment Facility has reached the most advanced phase. IMELS prepared the following documentation in the Serbian language by the year 2007:
  • General design of the Wastewater Treatment Plant, revised by Revision Commission of Autonomous Region of Vojvodina
  • Preliminary Design / Feasibility Study with Environmental Impact Assessment ready for the Revision Commission together with the Tender documentation
Mostly due to the lack of money and impossibility to close the financial construction the City of Pancevo didn’t go for this project.
At the moment there are some negotiations with the City of Pancevo and Serbian Ministry for the Environment and Spatial Planning aimed to reactivate and realize this project.

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