22 Jun 2021

10 Solution Suggestions from ITU to the Problem of Mucilage

A group of scientists from Istanbul Technical University (ITU) announced a technical evaluation report that includes the findings and possible solutions for the mucilage (sea saliva) problem threatening the Marmara Sea.

News: İTÜ Media and Communication Office

A group of scientists from Istanbul Technical University (ITU) announced a technical evaluation report that includes the findings and possible solutions for the mucilage (sea saliva) problem threatening the Marmara Sea.

ITU faculty member Prof. Dr. Ismail Koyuncu, Prof. Dr. Izzet Ozturk, Prof. Dr. Mustafa Yanalak, Prof. Dr. Ozcan Arslan, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ebru Dülekgürgen, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mustafa Evren Erşahin and Asst. Prof. Dr. Türker Türken's opinions and suggestions on the mucilage problem are included in the report.

The report, which includes analysis models of mucilage formation and the damages it causes, also includes satellite images provided by ITU Satellite Communication and Remote Sensing Center (UHUZAM).

 The Technical report lays out the causes of the mucilage problem

According to current data, 53% of the municipal wastewater in the Marmara Sea basin is mechanically treated, 42% is advanced biological (with C, N, P removal) treatment, and 5% is discharged after biological (C, partial N, P removal) treatment.

According to the results of the modeling studies carried out in the Marmara Sea and the Bosphorus, it is recommended to apply eutrophication control in the Marmara and prevention of worsening of the dissolved oxygen level in the substrate, in other words, biological C, N, and P removal treatment before all point wastewater discharge to Marmara, especially Istanbul, to ensure that the receiving environment is used for purposes such as swimming, water sports, and fishing.

In the last 10 years, biological N and P removal treatment applications before the urban and industrial wastewater discharges to Marmara, especially Istanbul, Izmit,  and Bursa, have accelerated. As a result of these applications, significant water quality improvements have been achieved and biodiversity has increased, especially in the Golden Horn, Izmit, and Gemlik Bays. However, the dissolved oxygen levels in the lower layer are observed to be < 2 mg/L in the eastern region of Izmit Bay, where water exchange is limited with the axis north of Büyükçekmece Baba Cape ~ Tuzla Peninsula, where the effluent of Yenikapı, Kadıköy, Küçükçekmece, and Büyükçekmece Pre-Treatment Plants are discharged.

10 solution suggestions for the mucilage problem

 1. The Marmara Basin, which includes the Sea of ​​Marmara, the Straits, and sea connections, should be considered and evaluated as a whole.

 2. An interdisciplinary scientific-based approach should be applied and university-public-industry-private sector-NGO collaborations should be developed to reduce the pollutant loads that increase mucilage formation processes in the Sea of ​​Marmara.

 3. Advanced Biological WWTP effluent should be used in the irrigation of urban green areas (if any) and/or in industry, to reduce the amount of wastewater given to Marmara.

 4. Recycling should be given priority in wastewater treatment plants. In this context, innovative, space-saving, and energy-efficient wastewater treatment processes should be implemented.

 5. The OIZ and individual industrial facilities should be prevented from discharging priority and hazardous materials into the municipal channel network through effective monitoring and inspections.

 6. The formation of ecological conditions in the upper layer of the Marmara Sea should be supported. With the migration of fish between the Black Sea, Marmara, and Aegean Seas, fish shelter/spawning areas should be protected and the sustainability of these regions should be ensured.

 7. Water quality should be constantly monitored, monitoring, inspection and sanctioning capacities of domestic and industrial WWTP discharges should be developed, and deterrent sanctions should be imposed on facilities that are not operated in accordance with standards, and monitoring data should be shared.

 8. The operation of advanced biological wastewater treatment plants by specialized private sector companies based on contracts of at least 8-10 years should be expanded.

 9. Satellite images with different spatial and temporal resolutions should be provided, especially for monitoring mucilage and pollution. Active satellite systems should be examined and integrated into studies.

 10. A dynamic Geographic Information System (GIS) that will also serve as a decision support system for the Marmara Sea and Basin should be established. Up-to-date information about the Marmara Sea and the areas it interacts with should be produced continuously, the settlement and changes in these areas should be determined and the effects on the Marmara Sea ecosystem should be revealed.


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