Gypsum treatment of fields for the benefit of the Archipelago Sea

The Ministry of the Environment currently has a project in Southwest Finland called KIPSI, funded by the Water Protection Programme. Its aim is to treat 50,000–80,000 hectares of fields with gypsum in the Archipelago Sea catchment to mitigate its eutrophication. According to studies, gypsum treatment can reduce topsoil erosion and phosphorus and carbon runoff to waters from the fields. Hansel’s experts were able to help tender for the €18.5 million procurement.

The procurement arranged by our tendering experts and the ELY centre for Southwest Finland was very special and sought a major impact. As with all other customer organisation procurements in which we are involved, this procurement also underwent an impact assessment, both at the start and end of the tendering.

“The impact assessment helped us set goals for the tendering, and it gave us many new ideas. At the end of the project, it was nice to see the concrete results we achieved,” says a satisfied Pekka Salminen, Project Manager at the ELY centre.

The project, which is implemented as a tendering service, assesses five different impact perspectives: responsibility; innovativeness; cost savings; product or service quality; and increased expertise. The concrete targets are written down and assessed on a scale of 0–2.

Generating results

Gypsum created in an industrial side stream may contain harmful substances that may cause concern for some. The KIPSI project arranged competitive tendering of both clean gypsum and a comprehensive quality assurance for it so that farmers could trust it completely. Once the product’s quality has been determined, the alternatives for the coordinating, resourcing and managing of the large logistics operation, which also influence how ecological the service is, are compared. In the large land improvement operation, environmental responsibility was naturally the focus. It is also great from the perspectives of the circular economy and sustainable development targets that the status of waters can be improved with an industrial side stream product that has been chosen in tendering.

In five years, the aim of KIPSI is to reduce the phosphorus load of the Archipelago Sea quickly and cost-effectively by up to 44 tonnes a year, which is a significant part of the total annual requirement of 100 tonnes. During the project, which started in 2020, gypsum has been spread over 16,900 hectares of fields. Meriaura Oy, which won the tender, has transported the gypsum from Siilinjärvi to harbours, and its subcontractors have transported it from there to the fields.

The first tendering and project stage were successful, and the ELY Centre for Southwest Finland is currently preparing the next tender with Hansel.

“The help of Hansel employees, who know the whole tendering process, was invaluable. The chosen criteria were carefully thought out from all perspectives,” Pekka Salminen says gratefully.

The fight against eutrophication continues, and with the help of the EU, we will soon be able to spread gypsum in the entire coastal region.

Read more on the KIPSI project’s website (in Finnish).