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Adopted 12 March 1996 having regard to Article 13, Paragraph b) of the Helsinki Convention 

This Recommendation supersedes HELCOM Recommendation 11/5




RECALLING that according to Article 6 of the Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area, 1974 (Helsinki Convention), the Contracting Parties shall take all appropriate measures to control and strictly limit pollution by noxious substances,


RECALLING ALSO that Annex II of the Helsinki Convention defines certain metals, oils and cyanide contained in industrial waste waters as noxious substances for the purposes of Article 6 of the Convention,


RECOGNIZING that iron and steel industry is a major source of metal, oil and cyanide discharges,


RECALLING the Ministerial Declaration at the ninth meeting of the Helsinki Commission,


DESIRING more information about the discharges from iron and steel industry,


RECOGNIZING the importance of reducing the discharges from iron and steel industry by


(i)           minimizing the hazards to human health and to the environment from toxic, persistent and bioaccumulative substances by the application of best available technology;


(ii)          developing industrial processes (in particular, recycling of waters) and preventing incidental effluent discharges;


(iii)         developing waste- and stormwater treatment techniques and reuse or further utilization and/or processing of the sludge in a manner causing as little environmental hazard as possible, 


RECOMMENDS that the Contracting Parties, as of 1 January 2002 (countries in transition as of 1 January 2005), or immediately upon adoption of a new production unit that has been granted a licence after 1 January 1998, take the following measures to reduce waste water discharges from iron and steel industry:


1. General requirements


a)     discharges should be avoided by using dry operations (e.g. gas cleaning techniques which cause no discharges to water);


b)     process water, polluted cooling water and polluted stormwater should be treated separately from unpolluted cooling water at each plant;


c)     installation of closed water systems should be developed for process water and polluted cooling water in order to reach a circulation rate of at least 95%;


d)     production processes, utilization of by-products, waste- and stormwater treatment technology should be developed in order to minimize discharges (e.g. slag granulation by process water);


e)     internal and external measures should be taken to minimize accidental discharges (e.g. installation of sufficient storage capacity for untreated waste waters);


f)      sludges should be disposed of in a manner causing minimal environmental hazard, preferably by treating and entering the sludges to the blast furnace,  sintering plant or electric arc furnace;


2. Requirements to the effluent of the plant


After having fulfilled the general requirements under 1, the following limit values should not be exceeded as annual mean values (for CNvol 24h value);

   Type of process       SuspendablesolidsOilCNvol 
   Blast furnace   10 mg/l  -    0.2 mg/l
   Sintering plant   10 mg/l  -   -
   Open-heart furnace   10 mg/l  -   -
   Basic oxygen furnace   10 mg/l  -    -
   Electric arc furnace   10 mg/l  -    0.1 mg/l
   Continuous casting   10 g/t   5 g/t   -
   Hot rolling

   50 g/t  ( or 1 t/a ) **)

10 g/t (or 0.2 t/a )**)    -
   Cold rolling   10 g/t   5 g/t   -

**) for existing plants only


For plants with integrated waste water systems the total annual discharges should not exceed the sum of the annual production multiplied with the values above for each process,


RECOMMENDS ALSO that the Contracting Parties report to the Commission every three years starting in 2000,


RECOMMENDS FURTHER that measurements and requirements for heavy metals as well as possible measurements and requirements for the environmental properties (e.g. toxicity and persistency) of the oil products used should be examined in 2000,


DECIDES that this Recommendation should be reconsidered in 2000, especially concerning limit values for continuous casting, hot and cold rolling.





Country:                             Year:                              


For each plant:


1)   Name of the plant, its production in tonnes/year and its location;


2)   Process water, polluted cooling water and polluted stormwater treatment and re-circulation systems applied;


3)   Status of the plant as to the paragraphs 1a , b, c, d, e , f;


4)   a) Annual mean discharges in mg/l (for cyanide maximum 24h value)


Process                                                  suspendable      CNvol



Blast furnace                                                                        


Sintering plant                                                                      -           


Open-heart furnace                                                             -


Basic oxygen furnace                                                          -


Electric arc furnace                                                                                                                 


b) Specific discharges in g/tonnes processed steel:


Process                                                  suspendable    oil   Ni   Cr   Zn



Continuous casting

Hot rolling

Cold rolling