SOLUTIONS FOR TAILINGS

The tailings from the Fundão dam impacted water courses, soil, springs, the Doce River itself and its mouth, on the coast of Espírito Santo State. There are several technologies used in the solutions for these tailings, such as revegetation and reconformation of the margins to control erosion, and the restoration of riparian forest. These actions contribute to the environmental recovery of the entire basin – creating conditions for an environment with more biodiversity – and in the water quality data of the river, which is in conditions similar to those before the collapse.

TAILINGS’ MANAGEMENT PLANS

More than 80 experts were gathered by Renova Foundation to develop Tailings’ Management Plans. The affected region covers 670 km of watercourses and was divided into 17 sections. Appropriate actions and techniques were defined to repair each one, based on the specific indicators, such as volume, thickness, and characteristics of the tailings, in addition to the environmental conditions. They involve shaping of banks, bioengineering, renaturation and forest restoration, erosion control and resumption of agricultural activities (impacted areas).

  • The tailings management plan in rural areas between Mariana and the Candonga boundary is approved and implemented in the properties that authorized the execution. Between Candonga and the river mouth, the plans are filed
  • In two stretches of the Gualaxo do Norte river, between the Camargo and Santarém streams, the re-naturalization pilot project was carried out (installation of logs in the river channel to re-establish favorable environmental conditions for aquatic biota)
  • The pilot project received two recognitions: BRICS Solutions for SDGs 2021 (Clean Water and Sanitation category), an award that recognizes innovative projects which contribute to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (learn more) and Hugo Werneck Award (Best Example in Water category), considered the Oscar of Ecology in the country.
  • In the Gualaxo do Norte river, a pilot project for the Natural Treatment Stations was implemented, which uses filtering barriers and vegetation islands in the river channel to filter water and absorb metals
  • Tailings’ removal, up to date, occurred in two locations: Barra Longa (MG State), municipality with urban area directly affected by the mud, and Cachoeira de Camargos, in the Mariana district (MG State), with the cleaning of the lake are meeting the community request
  • Tailings are not toxic. It contains elements that occur naturally in the soil (rich in iron, manganese and aluminum), sand (silica) and water
    The sediment was characterized as non-hazardous in all samples, according to criteria of the Brazilian solid waste classification standard.

DATA OBTAINED FROM SURVEYS BY THE NATIONAL WATER AGENCY (ANA) AND THE GEOLOGICAL SERVICE OF BRAZIL (CPRM) DEMONSTRATE THERE WAS NOT DEPOSITION OF MATERIAL ARISING FROM THE FUNDÃO DAM COLLAPSE WITH POTENTIAL TO CHANGE FLOOD LEVELS IN DOCE RIVER, AS IN THE REGIONS NEXT TO GOVERNADOR VALADARES AND COLATINA. FLOOD EVENTS REQUIRE A CAREFUL AND INTEGRATED DATA ANALYSIS FROM THE ENTIRE CONTRIBUTION BASIN OF THE RIVER, AS WELL AS THE INTENSITY AND CONCENTRATION OF RAIN IN SPACE AND TIME.

THE RISOLETA NEVES HYDROELECTRIC PLANT (CANDONGA) HAD A FUNDAMENTAL ROLE IN THE RETENTION OF 10.5 M³ OF TAILINGS, PREVENTING THEM TO FOLLOW THE THE DOCE RIVER GUTTER. THREE METALLIC BARRINGS WERE BUILT INSIDE THE PLANT’S RESERVOIR AND 959 THOUSAND M³ OF MATERIAL WERE PUMPED. THE ACTIVITIES PREVIOUSLY CARRIED OUT BY RENOVA FOUNDATION WERE UNDERTAKEN BY SAMARCO UNDER A COOPERATION AGREEMENT. COMPENSATORY WORKS, REMOVING TAILINGS AND DREDGING, WASTE DISPOSAL, ENVIRONMENTAL RECOVERY OF RIO DOCE MARGINS AND SECTORS OF THE RISOLETA NEVES HYDROELECTRIC POWER PLANT WILL BE CARRIED OUT.

WATERCOURSES AND SOIL RECOVERY

A study by Professor Carlos Tucci, specialist in Water Resources and Environmental Sanitation, analyzed the hydro-sedimentological characteristics of the stretch affected by the Fundão collapse in the Doce river basin. The goal was to understand the behavior of erosive processes related to the dynamics of water and sediments. Through mathematical modeling, the interaction of the environment with the tailings over the years was also analyzed. According to the study, by 2019 there was a reduction of 34% in the volume of tailings deposited in the riverbed after the collapse, which means a tendency to return to the patterns which were registered previous to the disaster.

Currently, the sediment transport values in the Doce River have already approached historical values in the stretch between the Risoleta Neves Hydroelectric Power Plant (Candonga) and the mouth, in Espírito Santo. These indices are measured by the National Water and Basic Sanitation Agency (ANA) in its hydrometeorological network with pre-collapse data. The comparison shows a clear recovery of the affected stretch, and the research also points out that, at the end of the ten simulated years, a large part of the tailings tends to consolidate over time, based on the Renova Foundation’s repair actions for the growth of local vegetation and stabilization of the affected rivers bottom, with the formation of the coarsest layer (sand, gravel, etc.) of natural sediments.

For more information:

Doce River Expedition

ENVIRONMENTAL RECOVERY ACTIONS

The Gualaxo do Norte and Carmo rivers, which suffered the first environmental impact of the Fundão collapse, are already responding to actions carried out by the Renova Foundation. The results of monitoring water quality show that turbidity is decreasing every year. These first 100 kilometers, between Mariana and Santa Cruz do Escalvado, in Minas Gerais, received actions in 2015. The riverbeds were cleaned, emergency vegetation planting and riverbanks stabilized. Afterwards, the restoration of the riparian forest was initiated, fundamental for the health of the water courses.

  • Approximately 800 hectares of emergency planting to control erosion
  • 113 recovered tributaries – small rivers that feed the High Doce River
  • Actions to erosion control and margin reconformation, through bioengineering works on plains
  • Drainage paths were redone between Mariana and Doce River (MG State)

 

Studies from Federal University of Viçosa (UFV)

  • Study coordinated by Dr. Maria Catarina Megumi Kasuya, a specialist in soil microbiology, proved that emergency revegetation accelerated the increase in the diversity of microorganisms in the soil. This research will support the production of seedlings in nurseries in the Doce River Basin
  • There are no limitations for direct cultivation in the tailings. Research conducted by professor Dr. Carlos Schaefer, a soil specialist, has been monitoring the soil directly affected by the tailings since 2015 and has shown there are no risks for planting on properties which have received repair actions
    60 soil collection points, distributed between the Fundão dam and the Risoleta Neves Hydroelectric Plant, generate samples for periodic analyzes on the soil toxicity and the nature of the deposited tailings.
  • In a study led by Professor Sebastião Venâncio, a doctor in botany, 41 thousand seedlings of native species were planted in 41.5 hectares of impacted area. Different experiments demonstrated a high capacity for soil regeneration with tailings, diversity of cultivated plants and a good development of seedlings. The research also found out the tailings does not represent an impediment to natural regeneration because it does not contain toxic substances
  • Another study conducted by the team of Professor Sebastião Venâncio, from the Forest Restoration Laboratory of the Federal University of Viçosa(LARF-UFV), is evaluating the use of seed balls as an alternative to promote forest restoration. The technique can be used to recover Permanent Preservation Areas (APPs) and riparian forests in the impacted region, with environmental gains for the entire Doce River basin

For more information:

Doce River Expedition

INTEGRATED REPAIR OF RURAL PROPERTIES

Renova Foundation supports rural producers who have been impacted by the passage of tailings through the implementation of a sustainable economic production model, which is appropriate to the local reality. Among the actions, the promotion and support for the environmental readjustment of these properties are highlighted, as recommended by the regulations of Brazilian legislation.

PROPERTIES IN THE HIGH DOCE RIVER REGION

Located on a stretch of 100 kilometers between the Fundão dam and the Risoleta Neves Hydroelectric Plant, in the municipalities of Mariana, Barra Longa, Ponte Nova, Rio Doce and Santa Cruz do Escalvado.

  • Productive Environmental Zoning (ZAP) of the Gualaxo do Norte River Basin and the Carmo River Basin concluded
  • Approximately 200 properties were diagnosed by using the Agrosystem Sustainability Indicator (ISA) – more than 4,000 evaluated indexes
  • More than 180 rural properties are receiving actions to promote the resumption of their agricultural activities
  • All these properties are eligible for the Socioeconomic and Environmental Adequacy Plan (PASEA) which aims to promote environmental adequacy, improve rural structures, among other measures
    PASEA was created by the Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply of Minas Gerais (Seapa) and was put into practice through the partnership of the Renova Foundation with the Minas Gerais Technical Assistance and Rural Extension Company (Emater-MG).
  • In July 2021, the first circular agroecological vegetable gardens for rural producers who are members of Pasea were completed. The circular shape of the structures allows for a better use of light, water for irrigation and land spaces for planting diversification. Know more
  • Technical Assistance and Rural Extension (ATER): more than 14,200 hours carried out from the second half of 2019 to the moment

OTHER 5 THOUSAND HOURS OF ATER WERE PERFORMED BY RENOVA FOUNDATION TEAMS BETWEEN JANUARY 2017 AND AUGUST 2019 IN AFFECTED RURAL PROPERTIES. THE GOAL IS TO PROMOTE THE CONSERVATION OF NATURAL RESOURCES, SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTION PRACTICES AND DIRECT SUPPORT TO FAMILIES IN THE MANAGEMENT OF THE PROPERTY AND COMMERCIALIZATION OF PRODUCTS, COMPLEMENTING THE INTEGRATED VIEW OF PASEAS.

IN THE FIRST QUARTER OF 2021, THE RENOVA FOUNDATION COMPLETED THE REPAIR OF ABOUT 550 HECTARES OF FOREST AND PERMANENT PRESERVATION AREAS IN MARIANA, BARRA LONGA, RIO DOCE, SANTA CRUZ DO ESCALVADO AND PONTE NOVA. THE WORK WAS CARRIED OUT ON OVER 200 RURAL PROPERTIES DIRECTLY AFFECTED BY TAILINGS, WHERE 350,000 SEEDLINGS OF 176 NATIVE SPECIES WERE PLANTED. THE AREAS WERE PROTECTED BY SURROUNDINGS OR BY THE OWN NATIVE VEGETATION EXISTING IN THE AREA. TODAY, R$356 MILLION HAS BEEN ALLOCATED TO THESE ENVIRONMENTAL REPAIR ACTIONS.

PRODUCTION AND CONSERVATION

  • About 160 hectares impacted by tailings can be used by agricultural crops and will be recovered
  • More than 2,800 hectares of areas which have not been impacted will be recovered for productive use, expanding the economic chain in the region
  • 25 Demonstrative Units will be implemented, model farms for forestry of native species, management of ecological pasture and agroforestry systems
  • 16 properties already have Demonstration Units implemented at Alto Rio Doce region
    Partnership between Renova Foundation, WRI Brasil, International Center for Agroforestry Research (ICRAF) and Ecological Farm.
  • 800 simple rural infrastructures completed, including barns, pigsties and chicken coops
  • 459 ‘little dams’ were built to store rainwater
  • Almost 53 thousand tons of silage delivered to impacted rural producers
  • 238 fenced springs and 58 springs with forest planting carried out

THE GENETIC IMPROVEMENT OF THE CATTLE HERD FROM THE RURAL PROPERTIES AFFECTED BY THE FUNDÃO DAM COLLAPSE IS AMONG THE WORKS CARRIED OUT BY THE RENOVA FOUNDATION. KNOWN AS ‘RENOVA HERD’, THE INITIATIVE AIMS TO INCREASE MILK PRODUCTION, COMBINING THE TECHNOLOGY OF ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION WITH MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES.

PROPERTIES IN THE MIDDLE AND LOW DOCE RIVER REGIONS

Located on the stretch after the Risoleta Neves Hydroelectric Plant to Linhares (ES State), in the region of the mouth of the Doce River.

  • 274 families in rural settlements in the municipalities of Tumiritinga and Periquito, in Minas Gerais State, and Linhares, in Espírito Santo State are receiving technical assistance actions
  • 257 properties diagnosed through the Agrosystem Sustainability Indicator (ISA)
  • Almost 18,000 hours of Technical Assistance and Social Extension (ATES)
    Assistance modality adapted to the family arrangement of the agrarian reform settlers.
  • More than 600 rural properties in the middle and lower Doce River regions will receive Technical Assistance and Rural Extension (ATER) actions

RURAL PRODUCERS FROM MUNICIPALITIES IN MIDDLE AND LOW DOCE RIVER WILL RECEIVE TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE AND RURAL (ATER) COLLECTIVE SERVICES TO ASSIST IN THE PROCESS OF STRENGTHENING AND RESUMING AGRICULTURAL ACTIVITIES. ACTIONS WILL BE CARRIED OUT IN 4 MUNICIPALITIES FROM ESPÍRITO SANTO STATE AND 29 MUNICIPALITIES FROM MINAS GERAIS STATE.

For more information:

Doce River Expedition

FOREST RESTORATION

Renova Foundation is recovering springs, other Permanent Preservation Areas (APPs) and water recharges at the Doce River basin by developing actions which contribute in an integrated manner to water quality. The springs play a fundamental role on recovering a river: if they are preserved, they provide good quality water for the sources. Another contribution comes from water recharge areas, formed by native forest. With more trees and roots, the rainwater infiltrates the soil with lower runoff and sediment flowing directly into the rivers.

  • 40 thousand hectares of APPs will be restored
  • 5,000 springs will be recovered in Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo States
  • R$ 1.7 billion will be allocated to forest restoration initiatives
  • About 2,400 hectares of Permanent Preservation Areas and water recharge areas are being implemented at the municipalities of Governador Valadares, Coimbra, Periquito and Galileia, in Minas Gerais State; and Colatina, Marilândia and Pancas, in Espírito Santo State
  • More than 200 rural properties are partners in forest restoration actions
  • About 1,250 springs have the recovery process started
  • About 500 rural properties participate in actions to recover the springs

RENOVA FOUNDATION MOBILIZES RURAL PRODUCERS FROM 65 MUNICIPALITIES IN THE DOCE RIVER BASIN THROUGH THE NOTICE OF RURAL PRODUCERS ADHESION TO FOREST RESTORATION PROGRAMS, AIMED AT COMPENSATORY REFORESTATION ACTIONS. COVERING ALL THE REGIONS ESTABLISHED BY CBH-DOCE AND THE PRIORITIZATION STUDY DEVELOPED BY THE FEDERAL UNIVERSITIES OF VIÇOSA (UFV) AND MINAS GERAIS (UFMG), THE NOTICE IS OPEN PERMANENTLY UNTIL THE TOTAL GOAL OF RECOVERING 5 THOUSAND SPRINGS AND 40 THOUSAND HECTARES IN PERMANENT PRESERVATION AREAS (APPS) OR IN AREAS OF WATER RECHARGE IN THE RIVERS BASINS MANHUAÇU, SANTA MARIA DO DOCE, BANANAL, PANCAS, CORRENTE GRANDE, GUANDU AND PIRANGA.

TO CARRY OUT THE FOREST RESTORATION ACTIONS PROVIDED FOR IN THE ADMISSION PUBLIC NOTICE, RENOVA IS HIRING, ALSO VIA PUBLIC NOTICE, PRIVATE COMPANIES OR CONSORTIUMS WITH EXPERTISE TO PROVIDE TECHNICAL, SCIENTIFIC AND OPERATIONAL SERVICES. FOR THE GUANDU RIVER BASIN, FOR EXAMPLE, ABOUT R$ 100 MILLION WILL BE TARGETED IN THE RECOVERY OF 3,192.52 HECTARES. LEARN MORE.

PAYMENT FOR ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES

Farmers who commit to recover their property areas – especially springs and water sources – are being financially rewarded. In the Payment for Environmental Services model, membership is voluntary. Renova Foundation is responsible for executing and supporting environmental restoration on properties, providing inputs and labor. The rural producer, who will be remunerated, is responsible for maintaining the areas for a period of five years.

  • R$ 700 thousand paid to farmers at the Doce River basin (recovery of springs and APPs)

FOREST INVENTORY

The Forest Inventory carried out by the Renova Foundation is one of the largest in progress in the country and is creating a database on forest conditions in the Doce River basin, with information on the variety and conditions of vegetation and soil fertility. In the evaluated areas, the trees are marked with platelets and their information is made available by QR Code. The goal is to create an ecosystem reference to guide Renova Foundation’s forest restoration actions, measure and compare the progress of the environmental recovery process with the basin’s reference ecosystems.

NET OF SEEDS AND SEEDLINGS

The forest restoration of the Doce River basin moves a chain of seedling and seed production in partnership with family producers, rural settlements, and traditional communities. The Seeds and Seedlings Network, created in partnership with the Center for Environmental Research of the Northeast (Cepan), mobilizes and remunerates people and social organizations for the activities of seed collection and seedling production. Seedling nurseries in the region also supply providers and farmers.

For more information:

Doce River Expedition

WATER QUALITY

The water from the Doce River can be consumed after undergoing conventional treatment in municipal supply systems. This is what the more than 1.5 million data generated annually by one of the largest watercourse monitoring systems in Brazil indicate. Since 2017, the Doce River basin has monitoring points and automatic stations which allow monitoring, over time, its recovery and generates subsidies for actions to repair the damage caused by the Fundão dam collapse.

 

  • 1,5 million data generated by the monitoring program per year
    The data are available on the Monitoring Doce River portal , in the form of graphs and maps, and it is possible to download the information in spreadsheets. The platform is a project of the Systematic Quali-Quantitative Monitoring Program for Water and Sediment (PMQQS) conducted by the Renova Foundation under the guidance and supervision of the Technical Monitoring Group (GTA-PMQQS).
  • 690 kilometers of monitoring rivers and lagoons, plus 230 kilometers of monitoring along the coastal and estuarine zones
  • 82 conventional monitoring points distributed in the Doce River and in the coastal zone indicate the raw water from the Doce River can be consumed after being treated
  • 22 automatic stations generate information in real time and data is used on the supply systems plannings of the cities
  • 103 physical, chemical, and biological parameters are analyzed in the water and 38 in the sediments, generating information on the environmental recovery of the basin
    To disseminate the data collected by the monitoring, the Water Bulletin was created.The material provides information on the quality of raw water (without treatment), levels of metals found and technical indexes, among other data, in monthly and quarterly formats. Data on the monitoring of the Gualaxo do Norte, Carmo and Doce rivers is made available every month. And, every three months, information about the monitoring of the lagoons, estuaries and coastal zone is disclosed.

SIX ORGANS PARTICIPATE IN THIS WORK THROUGH A TECHNICAL GROUP OF MONITORING: NATIONAL WATER AGENCY (ANA), BRAZILIAN INSTITUTE OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND RENEWABLE NATURAL RESOURCES (IBAMA), CHICO MENDES INSTITUTE OF BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION (ICMBIO), MINAS GERAIS INSTITUTE OF WATER MANAGEMENT (IGAM), THE ESPÍRITO DO SANTO STATE AGENCY OF WATER RESOURCES (AGERH) AND THE STATE INSTITUTE OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND WATER RESOURCES OF ESPÍRITO SANTO (IEMA).

RIVERS’ RECOVERY OVER TIME

The results of the Rio Doce basin monitoring show a recovery trend through the entire impacted region, with the resumption of concentrations of water quality parameters at historical levels. Even before the collapse, the level of rivers turbidity is higher during the rainy season – from October to March – as indicated by the monitoring carried out by the water resources management bodies of Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo States. The results of the rainy periods after the collapse showed an improvement of the condition of impacted rivers. For the dry season – from April to September – it is possible to observe, since 2016, similar conditions to those before the collapse of the Fundão dam.

 

For more information:

Doce River Expedition
Boletins de Qualidade da Água

BIODIVERSITY

In the Biodiversity programs, repair and compensation actions are developed in terrestrial and aquatic environments (fresh and marine) and in some Conservation Units (UCs). They are carried out in partnership with teaching and research institutions and environmental consulting companies, always focusing on monitoring impacts and executing plans for the biodiversity conservation in the Doce River basin.

TERRESTRIAL BIODIVERSITY

At first, a Monitoring Program was implemented to assess the impacts on vertebrates, invertebrates, vegetation, and soil. Based on the Rapeld method, samples were taken in 19 modules distributed between Fundão and the mouth of the Doce River.

  • After a year of collections, no impacts were identified directly related to the Fundão dam collapse
  • Carried out between 2019 and 2020, the campaigns represented an important inventory of terrestrial biodiversity in the Doce River basin

For the second phase of the Monitoring Program, a new methodology was developed by a group of experts. The goal is to provide the necessary answers to Renova’s repair work. Monitoring campaigns will track persistent impacts in the basin and how wildlife and floristic communities are responding to improvement actions.

The Action Plan for the Conservation of Terrestrial Biodiversity was also created. It includes:

  • 12 defined strategies
  • 49 actions to be carried out over the next few years

AQUATIC BIODIVERSITY

The Aquatic Biodiversity Monitoring Program is carried out in the freshwater, marine and coastal areas.

  • In Minas Gerais state, the program started in 2021, through six research projects selected via public notice from the Research Support Foundation of Minas Gerais State (Fapemig), which will be conducted by three universities in the state
  • In Espírito Santo state, the program has been conducted since 2018, through partnerships developed with Rede Doce Mar, Consulting Companies and PROTAMAR Foundation, among others

IN NOVEMBER 2021, THE AQUATIC BIODIVERSITY BUILDING (BIOAQUA) WAS LAUNCHED IN THE NORTH UNIVERSITY CENTER OF ESPÍRITO SANTO (CEUNES), IN SÃO MATEUS. THE WORK IS THE RESULT OF THE TECHNICAL-SCIENTIFIC AGREEMENT SIGNED BETWEEN THE FEDERAL UNIVERSITY OF ESPÍRITO SANTO (UFES), VIA TECHNOLOGY FOUNDATION FROM ESPÍRITO SANTO STATE (FEST), AND RENOVA FOUNDATION.

Since 2017, Pro-Tamar Foundation has been monitoring sea turtles off the Espírito Santo and Bahia coast. 20 turtles of the Caretta caretta species received transmitters and are being monitored remotely.

IMPACTS ON CONSERVATION UNITS

PUBLISHED IN 2021, THE RED BOOK ON DOCE RIVER AQUATIC BIOTA ENDANGERED AFTER THE FUNDÃO DAM COLLAPSE, MARIANA | MINAS GERAIS IS THE RESULT OF A TECHNICAL COOPERATION AGREEMENT WITH BIODIVERSITAS FOUNDATION. THE PUBLICATION PRESENTS IN FULL A CONSERVATION STATUS ASSESSMENT OF THE AQUATIC BIOTA SPECIES IMPACTED BY THE FUNDÃO DAM COLLAPSE. THIS IS THE FIRST TIME A LIST OF ENDANGERED SPECIES USING THE IUCN METHODOLOGY IS GENERATED AT WATER BASIN SCALE.

In December 2021, the Action Plan for the Recovery and Conservation of Aquatic Biodiversity was prepared, which provides for:

  • 17 recovery and conservation strategies
  • 60 actions, many of them already in progress

CONSERVATION UNITS

Environmental Impact Assessment Studies are being carried out in potentially impacted Conservation Units (UCs) and will provide subsidies for necessary repair and mitigation actions.

FROM R$ 93 MILLION IN COMPENSATORY RESOURCES WHICH WILL BE TRANSFERRED BY RENOVA FOUNDATION TO THE DOCE RIVER STATE PARK, CONSIDERED THE MAJOR TROPICAL FOREST IN MINAS GERAIS STATE, MORE THAN R$ 25,5 MILLION HAVE ALREADY BEEN DEPOSITED.

The Renova Foundation will also fund actions for the consolidation of the Santa Cruz (ES state) Wildlife Refuge, in addition to the headquarters construction, preparation and execution of the Management Plan for the new environmental protection area at the mouth of the Doce River (ES state), which still will be created by the government.

RECOVERY OF THE WILD FAUNA

  • Another work front will work on the construction and equipping of two Wild Animal Screening and Rehabilitation Centers (CETRAS), one in Minas Gerais State and another in Espírito Santo State. Each of the projects includes the construction and equipment of the facilities, as well as the cost of operational maintenance for a period of three years

For more information:

Doce River Expedition