Today, the Doce River is the most monitored watercourse in Brazil. The over 3 million data generated annually in the most extensive monitoring program in the country – the Quali-Quantitative Systematic Monitoring Program (PMQQS) – show that the current conditions of the basin are the same as before the Fundao dam collapse in Mariana (MG).
The results also confirm that the water from the Doce River can be consumed after undergoing conventional treatment in the municipal supply systems. The water quality is analyzed before and after passing through the Water Treatment Plants (WTPs). The verification, which is the local concessionaires’ responsibility, is done before the water is distributed to the consumers and takes place in more than 300 points spread over 30 municipalities.
The PMQQS was implemented on July 31, 2017, with an expected duration of 10 years. The program conducts real-time extensive and detailed monitoring of the conditions of the impacted watercourses. The objective is to monitor how the water quality parameters evolve overtime at 92 points, from Mariana (MG) to the river mouth in Linares (ES). Twenty-two automatic stations transmit daily data, supporting the preventive planning for the basin supply systems.
MONITORING AT 92 POINTS IN IMPACTED WATERCOURSES:
X-RAY OF DOCE RIVER BASIN MONITORING
(activate the English subtitles)
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR WATER TREATMENT?
The Renova Foundation has invested in the improvement of 13 Water Treatment Systems, and ten pipelines have been delivered so far. Although a work schedule is in place for water care, the water quality’s responsibility remains with the entities that operated the supply systems before the Fundao collapsed.
Below, you will find the operators responsible for treating water in the municipalities affected by the Fundao dam collapse. In case of any doubt, consumers should reach out to their town hall for more information.
|1. Mariana (Central Area)||SAAE|
|Mariana (some districts)||SAAE or Municipal Government|
|2. Barra Longa (Central Area)||Copasa|
|Barra Longa (Gesteira)||Municipal Government|
|3. Doce River||Municipal Government|
|4. Santa Cruz do Escalvado||Municipal Government|
|5. Sem-Peixe||Municipal Government|
|6. Rio Casca||Copasa|
|7. Sao Jose do Goiabal||Municipal Government|
|8. Sao Pedro dos Ferros||Municipal Government|
|9. Raul Soares||SAAE|
|10. Dionisio||Municipal Government|
|11. Corrego Novo||Municipal Government|
|12. Bom Jesus do Galho||Municipal Government|
|13. Pingo D’Agua||Municipal Government|
|14. Sao Domingos do Prata||Municipal Government|
|15. Marlieria||Municipal Government|
|18. Ipaba||Municipal Government|
|19. Santana do Paraiso||Copasa|
|20. Belo Oriente||SAAE|
|21. Naque||Municipal Government|
|22. Iapu||Municipal Government|
|23. Bugre||Municipal Government|
|26. Governador Valadares||SAAE|
|27. Sobralia||Municipal Government|
|28. Fernandes Tourinho||Copasa|
|32. Conselheiro Pena||SAAE|
|36. Baixo Guandu||SAAE|
MONITORING OF AQUATIC AND MARINE LIFE
Partnership with the Espirito Santo Foundation for Technology (FEST) and the Federal University of Espirito Santo (UFES) for aquatic biodiversity monitoring in the river mouth, estuary, coastal and marine regions of the Espirito Santo portion of the Doce River. The study results will help measure the impacts of the tailings on the environment, and therefore will support the decision-making process regarding the fish quality and help indicate possible remedial measures.
DOCE RIVER SEA NETWORK
The Doce River Sea Network, an academic collaborative network made up of researchers from 27 institutions across the country, coordinated by UFES, monitors physical and chemical aspects of the environments and biodiversity at around 200 points along the entire Espirito Santo portion of the Doce River and in the estuarine, coastal and marine regions, which comprise the surroundings of the mouth and the area that runs from Guarapari (ES) to Porto Seguro (BA). In all, the work involves 526 people.
In the study, drones, aircrafts, and small, medium, and large vessels are used. Also, there are sensors of various types, satellite images, and automated buoys equipped with specific instruments for this type of monitoring.
The Renova Foundation works to restore the socioeconomic and environmental conditions for the resumption of aquaculture and fishing activities.
Currently, fishing for exotic species is allowed in Minas Gerais. The capture of native species is prohibited on the stretch of the Doce River in Minas Gerais and some natural lagoons in the state as a way to ensure the repopulation of native species. The measure was imposed by the State Forestry Institute (IEF). In Espirito Santo, an action by the Federal Prosecution Service prohibits fishing in the coastal area of the mouth of the Doce River, up to 20 meters deep, between Barra do Riacho (Aracruz) and Degredo/Ipiranguinha (Linhares).
The activity’s release depends on the evaluation of agencies affiliated to the Ministry of Environment, National Sanitary Surveillance Agency (Anvisa), and regulators at the state level.
After overcoming fishing restrictions in the catchment area, one of the main challenges will be to restore market and consumer confidence. The Renova Foundation is working hard to get the fish quality certified.
Integrated management of natural resources and strategic territorial planning are fundamental for the recovery of the area impacted by the collapse. In practice, this means that they are interconnected and complement each other, considering the region as a whole.
Therefore, Forest Restoration plays a central role in the restoration process. The springs resurgence is necessary to strengthen the health of the rivers, which will not happen without reforestation, the increase of riparian forests, and areas protecting riverbanks and plains.
In September 2019, the first phase of planting began to recover 40,000 hectares of Permanent Preservation Areas (PPAs) and Water Recharge Areas in the Doce River Basin, located in Minas Gerais and Espirito Santo. The forest restoration program is considered one of the largest ever carried out in a hydrographic basin in the world and involved investments of approximately R$ 1.1 billion.
The Springs Recovery Program, which is in its third year, aims to recover 5,000 springs over a period of 10 years by planting seedlings and natural regeneration. The infiltration of water into the soil and drainage improve the quality of the river water, and the planting, by providing the land with sufficient conditions to retain rainwater, protects the water sources and favors forest regeneration.
WHAT ABOUT THE TAILINGS?
After the collapse of the Fundao dam, in 2015, the mud that remained deposited occupied banks, plains, river channels and streams in different ways, according to the relief of each region. Both on the river banks and beds, there was an accumulation of tailings.
To search for the best ways to solve this issue, the Renova Foundation heard more than 80 experts and, based on everything presented, created the Tailings Management Plan in June 2017. The Plan contemplates methods to remove, stabilize or treat the tailings mud spread over more than 670 km of watercourses, divided into 17 stretches of action, from Mariana (MG) to Linhares (ES), at the mouth of the Doce River. For each stretch, there will be a specific solution, studied, approved, and accompanied by environmental agencies.
To learn more about how we are dealing with the tailings, click here.
SEWAGE AND SOLID WASTE TREATMENT
A fundamental action for the revitalization of the Doce River is the compensatory measure that provides for the allocation of R$ 500 million by the Renova Foundation to 39 municipalities impacted by the tailings for projects that improve the collection and treatment of sewage and adequate disposal of solid waste. This is a point that transversally will help in the recovery of the river.
The preservation of tributaries and investments in sewage treatment can lead the Doce River to a level of depollution that has not been seen for many years. Reducing illegal sewage disposal contributes to better oxygenation of the water and less contamination, restoring the health of the river and, consequently, of the entire surrounding ecosystem.