Second criminal case opened in Komi after accident at wastewater treatment plant in Vorkuta

SYKTYVKAR, March 8. /TASS/. A criminal negligence case was initiated in the Komi Republic after an accident at a wastewater treatment plant in the city of Vorkuta on December 24, the region’s prosecutor’s office said on Wednesday.

Previously, a criminal case was initiated under article 250 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“Water pollution”). After the collapse of the emergency ceilings for about three weeks, the untreated sewage merged into the rivers, and it was possible to restore the work of the sewage treatment plants on January 15.

“Based on the materials of the prosecutor’s check in connection with the incident at the treatment facilities of Vorkuta, a criminal case of negligence was initiated <...>. The prosecutor’s office established that the administration of Vorkuta had information about the unsatisfactory condition of the sewage treatment facilities, which required a comprehensive reconstruction, about the location of the tenant of this property LLC ” Vodokanal” is at the stage of bankruptcy and the inability of this enterprise to maintain the facility in a standard condition, as well as the need to terminate the lease agreement for municipal property, but the administration officials did not take the necessary measures,” the statement says.

In the course of an audit by the prosecutor’s office, it was established that the total amount of debt obligations of Vodokanal LLC is over 2 billion rubles, while during the period of initiation of bankruptcy proceedings, the organization’s current obligations exceeded the registered ones, which is a direct sign of the company’s insolvency. Taking into account the total volume of obligations, the enterprise is not able to independently maintain the proper condition of the facilities of the water supply and sewerage complex. For this reason, by the decision of the meeting of creditors of Vodokanal LLC dated June 29, 2021, the bankruptcy trustee was obliged to send a proposal to the administration of Vorkuta to terminate the municipal property lease agreement by agreement of the parties. This appeal was ignored by administration officials. The bankruptcy trustee filed a lawsuit to terminate the contract and impose on the city administration the obligation to accept municipal property. The case is under consideration by the Arbitration Court of the Republic.

“Contrary to the requirements of the law, the administration of Vorkuta did not organize proper water supply and sanitation on the territory of the urban district, shifting the specified obligation to an enterprise that has been in bankruptcy for a long time and is unable to satisfy the requirements of creditors <...>. As a result of the inaction of officials of the administration of Vorkuta on December 24 In 2022, at the sewage treatment plant, the ceilings of the passage channel between the primary sedimentation tank and the aerotank collapsed,” the supervisory authority noted.

Based on the materials of the inspection of the prosecutor’s office, the investigation department for Vorkuta of the Investigative Committee of the ICR for the Republic of Komi opened a criminal case under part 1.1 of Art. 293 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“Negligence resulting in the infliction of particularly large damage”).

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Deborah Acker

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