Water pollution control in industry and enterprises

Industry is responsible for around five percent of anthropogenic phosphorus and nitrogen discharges led directly into the bodies of surface water. It is worth to note that the discharges have decreased substantially over the last 30 years.


Approximately 90 percent of phosphorus and almost 70 percent of nitrogen discharges originate from pulp and paper industry. Structural and technical modifications have significantly influenced the status of recipient water bodies in some localities.

Moreover, industrial activities cause in some locations load of various organic substances and metals, but the discharges are curbed to as harmless level as technically and economically possible by means of permit stipulations. The recent growth of mining industry has, however, increased the discharge of metals in the water bodies near the mining sites.

What are the policy instruments applied to the sector?

Pollution prevention and control in the industry is mainly regulated by Environmental Protection Act and Decree, EU directives and requirements set by the customers.

EU best available techniques conclusions produced under the Industrial Emissions Directive frame the acceptable emission and consumption levels for big industrial installations and animal production units. Moreover, environmental quality standards are set in national and EU legislation for certain substances hazardous or harmful to the aquatic environment.

Important actors and responsibilities

Centres for economic development, traffic and the environment (ELY) enhance water pollution control policies and measures and are responsible for the enforcement of the environmental and water legislation in their areas. Moreover, ELY-centres coordinate the environmental impact assessment (EIA) procedures, supervise the compliance of environmental and water permits and approve the monitoring programmes. South-East Finland ELY-centre provides expertise nationally on the environmental issues of the pulp and paper industry and the related chemical industry

Regional administrative authorities (AVI) issue environmental and water permits to the industrial activities.

Enterprises and installations submit the environmental and water permit applications to AVI, monitor emissions and impacts and report the monitoring results to the ELY-centres.  

Municipal environmental authority issues environmental permits to the small scale industrial activities listed in the Environmental Protection Decree and supervises the compliance of the permit requirements.

Published 2013-12-17 at 8:50, updated 2019-08-16 at 15:02