Acid Tar Ponds in Incukalns are two sulfuric acid-tar waste disposal pits located near to one of Latvia's largest rivers – Gauja and Incukalns municipality.
Starting from mid 1950's to the early 1980's, tens of thousands of tons of sulfuric acid - tar waste were disposed in two sand pits near the town of Incukalns by the USSR State owned company “Riga Petroleum Refinery Factory”.
After the production the waste was left and no one cared about environmental issues. Moreover, after the collapse of USSR the factory was closed – so there were no real culprits identified who could be liable. Later, in the 21st century monitoring of the lagoons indicated that contaminated ground water could reach nearby river in as little as 10 years.
The Environmental Service managed to make an agreement with the building company “Skonto Buve” that claimed to liquidate all the waste before 2023 but still there is nothing done and situation is worsening every day. In 2015 Sconto Buve company claimed they were supposed to deal with larger quantities of toxic substances than it was mentioned in the agreement and reports made by State Environmental Service (SES), and demanded compensation for that. They made several analyses and concluded that technologies they use are not appropriate and that’s why acid tar is destroying the equipment used in a project. SES disagreed and initiated termination of the contract. So, all of the works of liquidation of pollution were frozen.
The European Commission in June 2016 admitted the unpredictable situation of the project and only in 2017 finally the State Environment Service held another tender among companies who desired to allocate money from European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), that sponsored 85% of the project. The company chosen is “Incukalns Eko” - general partnership of several companies. Now in 2018, still there are no improvements and liquidation of the lagoons is at early start. Passive soil washing and pollution of the ground water is continuing.