Record-breaking environmental rescue exercise in Lake Vänern

Around 80 people took part in an environmental rescue exercise in Lake Vänern on 4 October. Photo: Swedish Coast Guard

On 4 October, the biggest ever environmental rescue exercise in Lake Vänern took place with around 80 participants and about 40 observers from the Swedish Civil Defence.

Lake Vänern supplies about a million people with drinking water and is directly necessary for the future development of the Lake Vänern region and the Gothenburg region. Any escaping oil or other harmful substances could cause serious damage to the environment.

“A litre of diesel oil is all it takes to impact a million litres of water and make it unfit for human consumption. A major spill could disrupt a waterworks for a long period and cause major disruption in society,” says Lars Langman, exercise leader.

Lars Langman led the record-breaking exercise in Lake Vänern. Photo: Swedish Coast Guard

Record-breaking civil defence exercise

The exercise held on 4 October was the biggest ever environmental rescue exercise in Lake Vänern, with around 80 participants from the Swedish Civil Defence, including the Swedish Coast Guard, the Swedish Maritime Administration, the Swedish Sea Rescue Society, Vänerhamn and all rescue service associations around Lake Vänern.

The picture shows ships from the Coast Guard and the Swedish Sea Rescue Society working together during the exercise. Photo: Swedish Coast Guard

Funded by Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency

This exercise is part of a larger project funded by the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB). The project is led by the Coast Guard and goes by the name of “More effective protection of drinking water sources”. 

The aim of the project is to increase awareness of new and traditional marine fuels, produce risk and vulnerability analyses, survey stakeholders, competences and resources and their preparedness, and conduct joint exercises to ensure that the methodology and existing technology are in place and work.

Oil spill simulated by 9000 litres of popcorn

One of the elements of the exercise involved working together to locate and remove oil from the water. 9000 litres of popcorn were used to simulate oil.

“Popcorn behaves in more or less the same way as oil. It settles on the surface of the water, follows the currents and can be picked up by our oil equipment,” says Lars Langman.

The picture shows how the ships collected the spilled popcorn using floating barriers. Photo: Karlstad emergency services.

Successful outcome

The aim of the exercise was to provide all participants with increased awareness of methods and mitigation measures and to expand their personal network in respect of the emergency services.

“The gut feeling after the exercise is good, and my impression is that environmental preparedness in Lake Vänern has been given a real boost. Now it’s important for us to maintain this good cooperation and ensure that stakeholders go on developing their relationships and competences. We’re strong together,” concludes Lars Langman.

Changed 29 April 2024 16:18