Water and Sewage
Green Blue
Buildings & land use
Project Summary Project Description Application of Tools Opinion of Tools Decision making process Contact Details

Project description

Name der Fallstudie
Harbour bathing in Copenhagen
Hafen-Bäder in Kopenhagen

Description of context
The efforts for making the harbour cleaner started in 1989, when it was decided in the City Plan from 1989 to move industry from the inner harbour and turn it into an area for offices and residences. Since industrialisation, large industries as B&W, DS Industries (formerly known as Dansk Soyakagefabrik) and ?Sukkerfabrikken? have been located along the harbour. As the regional planning council (Hovedstadsr夥t) was abolished in 1990, the responsibility for water area planning in Copenhagen was transferred to the municipality of Copenhagen. As it was expected that the old industrial sites over time would be transferred to residential areas, the Copenhagen EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) suggested in the Water Area Plan from 1992 that the water in the harbour should be turned into bathing water quality before 2004. At this time the possibility of bathing was not considered at all.

Map of Copenhagen and the harbour
Map of Copenhagen and the harbour

Calculations were made on how many detention basins would be needed. The main pollution in the harbour was coming from storm-water overflows. The pollution from the industries was strongly declining as they were moving out of the harbour (although some pollution was still left in the harbour). Pollution from the detention basins only occurs in times of extreme rainfall, where rainwater is mixed with wastewater from households and led to the local recipient (the harbour). This occurs app. 20 times per year. In most situations, however, the rainwater is kept in the detention basins, and led to the local sewage treatment plant where it is cleansed. The way to avoid such overflows is simply to increase the capacity of the detentions basins. In spite of heavy investment (expected 1 bill. Dkr., or 140 mill. ?) for detention basins, it was broadly accepted by the City Council.

According to the Sewage Plan 2000, bathing water quality has to be established in 2009. Although this goal has been reached, detention basins in the rest of the harbour still have to established, due to the political promises made for more bathing sites. The City Council has granted 100 mill. Dkr. (15 mill. ?) annually the next couple of years to establish detention basins. However, the basins have to be established along with new buildings at the harbour-front, including the new opera house. Once the opera (or other buildings) are built, it will be impossible to change.

Description of project - background
The idea of a harbour bath occurred because of plans being drawn up to use the harbour for recreational purposes as existing industries were moving out, and the improved water quality due to investments in detention basins, - as opposed to initiation due to a problem.

In the summer of 2001 it became possible to bathe in the inner harbour of Copenhagen. At Islands Brygge a pavilion for public bathing was established by the municipality, and became an instant success with. Thousands of people from Copenhagen and its suburbs were visiting the bath over the summer. It has become one of the (in not the) major environmental successes in Copenhagen due to its very visible and tangible character, which makes environmental progress very understandable. The municipality of Copenhagen has used pictures from the harbour bath intensively to promote the image as a green municipality (for instance as "the environmental capital of Europe").

The first harbour bath at Islands Brygge from 2001
The first harbour bath at Islands Brygge from 2001

It was the massive investments in detention basins along the harbour that enabled bathing. By establishing detention basins along the harbour, the overflows of sewage have been reduced from 1.600.000 to 800.000 m3 per year. In the Southern Harbour alone, the overflows have been reduced from 600.000 m3 to 300.000 m3, in overflows corresponding to a reduction from app. 20 to 7-8 per year. Two to four of the overflows take place in the bathing season. An important detail for making bathing practically possible was the establishment of a warning system that warns the bathers about overflows from the detention basins. The warning system consists of censors measuring how much water runs from the detention basins to the harbour (1 time per second). This is logged and sent to Copenhagen Energy, who collects the data and sends it on to DHI (Danish Hydraulic Company, a private company), who puts the data into the MIKE-model of the Copenhagen harbour. This allows fast estimations on whether an overflow makes the water exceed the limits, and the bathing sites should be closed temporarily (a red flag signalises that the water is temporarily polluted and bathing is prohibited). Before the system was installed, control measures were made from different places in the harbour, to be sure that the model was able to calculate the same values as measured in reality.

Copenhagen Energy has the responsibility of establishing detention basins along the harbour.

Description of project - objectives/aims
The objectives of establishing the detention basins were to improve the sewage treatment in general, and to improve the quality of the local recipients (by limiting overflows).

Description of project - time interval and stages
The policy of making the harbour cleaner by establishing detention basins started in 1989. The investments in detention basins stated in 1995. The first harbour bath opened in 2001.

Description of project - financing
Establishing detention basins (140 mill. ?) were financed through taxes

Description of project - other sectors involved
The project involves benefits for the green-blue sector (using water for recreational purposes)

Welche Tools wurden verwendet, um Nachhaltigkeit zu beurteilen?



Weiterführende Informationen (nur auf Englisch):

Für den vollständigen Bericht hier klicken (pdf)