Prevention of worksites’ environmental hazards

This page contains information about excavated earth, contaminated soil, surplus landmasses and the depositing of dredging masses related to worksites. You can also find instructions on worksite water, dust, noise, waste, and worksite fences and signs.

On this page

Excavated earth, aggregate and surplus soil

The processing instructions for excavated earth and aggregate include guidelines for planning and implementation. The topics include excavation of earth materials, earth to be removed, and analysing and cleaning contaminated soil.

Processing instructions for excavated earth and aggregate (in Finnish, PDF, 4 MB)

During the planning phase, the utilisation potential of the masses recycled during the construction project is examined with the City’s mass coordinator. The masses can be utilised e.g. as ballast and filling materials and substrates.

In addition to this, a sufficient ground survey programme must be ensured during the planning, so that the utilisation potential of the masses can be assessed.

Before the request for tenders, the City’s mass coordinator will work with the developer to determine which masses can be used in the project, who will be the mass holder, and where the masses managed by the client will be transported.

If excavation masses that deviate from the plans arise during the construction work, their utilisation must be agreed on separately with the developer and the mass coordinator.

Please contact the City’s mass coordinator (Link opens default mail program)

Please submit a notification if you plan to dig or clean contaminated soil and use the soil extracted from the contaminated area in connection with the cleaning or supply it to be utilised elsewhere.

In some cases, the operations may require an environmental permit.

Go to page ‘Notification of cleaning contaminated soil’

When possible, the City accepts uncontaminated and wasteless non-cohesive soil and rock waste generated during construction. Helsinki does not have a permanent reception unit for excavated earth.

Please ask the City’s mass coordinator about available reception units: opens default mail program). Please indicate the type and amount of the masses and the work schedule in your message.

Small-scale operators can take their clean soil and rock materials to the HSY Sortti Stations located in Kivikko and Konala. Go to the list of Sortti Stations by Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority(Link leads to external service)

Contaminated soil

Please submit a notification if you plan to dig or clean contaminated soil and use the soil extracted from the contaminated area in connection with the cleaning or supply it to be utilised elsewhere.

In some cases, the operations may require an environmental permit.

Go to page ‘Notification of cleaning contaminated soil’

Dredging masses

Small amounts of clay and clay sludge masses generated from dredging Helsinki shores (less than 500 m3) can be taken to the City of Helsinki sea deposit areas in Lokkiluoto and Koirasaarenluoto. Dumping floating plant waste is forbidden.

Please agree with the City in advance on the masses to be taken to deposit sites: (Link opens default mail program). Please include information about the dredging location and the estimated amount of mass in your message.

Please inform the Uusimaa Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centre) of the dredging no later than 30 days before the start date for the work. Go to ‘Water permit and notifications’ page of the Environmental Administration(Link leads to external service)

Groundwater, ground surveys and underground structures

You can find information about the ground surveys and groundwater measurement points recorded in the City database via the Helsinki Map Service. The service is free of charge and open to all.

See the following, for example:

Detailed information on ground surveys is available in the Soili service(Link leads to external service) Please note that the service is subject to a fee and intended for design and planning agencies only.

In the Soili service, you can find:

  • soil, ground survey and base maps
  • diagrams and cross-sections printed on an image file
  • ground survey and groundwater data in infrastructure format
  • verified rock drillings in CSV format.

Read more on the ‘Make better use of geospatial data’ page

Please ask for advice with taking underground facilities and structures into account, underground structures and ground fortifications: (Link opens default mail program).

To provide our services, we will need:

  • detailed plans for the intended new facility or structure
  • contact information of the party undertaking the construction project, planners and any contractors.

Construction must not permanently lower the groundwater level or decrease its quality. If the construction takes place below the groundwater level, groundwater must be taken into consideration early on in the design solutions. To determine the groundwater level, a sufficient number of groundwater pipelines must be installed. In the city centre, in particular, the perched water in the soil layers above clay must also be taken into account.

You can find information about the previously measured groundwater surface levels here:

Ask for advice: regarding groundwater (Link opens default mail program) or (Link opens default mail program).

Read the City’s separate instructions for building on groundwater areas (in Finnish, PDF).

Please follow these instructions when building on groundwater areas in Helsinki. Please attach the groundwater management plan and monitoring programme in the building permit application. Groundwater quality is being monitored through samples taken before and after a construction project. If the construction results in the contamination of groundwater, the party responsible for the construction can be obligated to purify the groundwater.

Submit information about groundwater pipelines, ground surveys and underground and underwater structures: (Link opens default mail program)

Please follow these instructions:

Please send the ground survey data from the Helsinki area to the City’s database in the latest infrastructure ground survey format. Please use the address (Link opens default mail program).

Worksite water

Stormwater or drainage water from a worksite that includes high amounts of solids, sludge or hazardous substances must not be directed to water systems or ditches.

Water and sludge to be removed from a worksite are generated during excavation and quarrying work and facade renovation, among other types of work.

The processing of worksite water is planned as a part of the other planning, well in advance before the construction phase. A processing plan may be required for a building or action permit. The decision on a noise or excavation notification may also include provisions on worksite water.

You can read more about worksite water processing, planning, quality requirements and regulations in the worksite water instructions.

Read more

In case of directing worksite water to stormwater, wastewater or combined sewers, please contact the Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority (HSY). A property in HSY’s stormwater sewerage area must be connected to a stormwater sewer. Go to the website of Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority (Link leads to external service)

If you plan to direct worksite water to a City-owned plot, please request permission from the City: (Link opens default mail program).

If your operations may contaminate water, please apply for an environmental permit with the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland (AVI). In a worksite, such a situation may arise when environmentally hazardous worksite water is being directed to a stormwater sewer or directly into a water system for a long time.

 Go to the website of the Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment(Link leads to external service)


When doing construction and demolition work, please ensure that dust does not spread into the environment. To minimise dust hazards, spread saline solution on the worksite driveways and wash away the dirt spreading from the worksite to the street. When operating in an urban area, collect the dust rising from drilling into a bag and remove it from the worksite so that the dust does not spread to the surroundings.

Noise and vibration

In general, making noise near residential buildings, accommodations and care and nursing facilities at night between 22.00 and 7.00 is prohibited.

Read the City of Helsinki Environmental Protection Regulations on night-time work (Section 22)

If you engage in any operations causing particularly disruptive noise or vibration, inform those affected by the noise or vibration in advance.It is especially important to notify residents of any necessary night-time work. Those affected should be informed of noise even if the activities do not require a notification of noise.

Agree on noise abatement measures together with daycare centres, schools, care institutions and other particularly vulnerable parties. When planning the work, remember to take into account that you may need to stop noisy work for the duration of children’s nap times or when the children are outside, for example.

Read the City of Helsinki Environmental Protection Regulations on notification and negotiation obligations (Section 17)

Section 21 of the City of Helsinki Environmental Protection Regulations lists the activities that unconditionally require a notification of noise. When necessary, ask for advice from the Environmental Services: (the link opens in the default email software)(Link opens default mail program)

Please apply for an environmental permit for the crushing if the work takes 50 days or longer.

Go to page ‘Environmental permit and notifications’

Waste and chemical storage

The waste management at a worksite must be planned and systematic. A worksite must have sufficient facilities for arranging waste management.

Please submit a report on construction and demolition waste when applying for a building or demolition permit. Please state the amount, type and sorting methods of construction waste.

Report on processing excavation, construction and demolition waste (PDF form in Finnish)

Read more

According to the Waste Act, the holder of construction and demolition waste must arrange separate collection for the following waste types, at the minimum:

  • concrete, bricks, mineral tiles and ceramics sorted by type, when possible
  • asphalt
  • bitumen and roofing felt;
  • plaster
  • untreated wood
  • metal
  • glass
  • plastic
  • paper and cardboard
  • mineral wool insulant
  • soil and rock materials

Waste collected separately must be taken to processing where as much of it as possible can be prepared for reuse or otherwise recycled or utilised as materials, in the highest quality possible.

The use of waste in earthworks generally requires an environmental permit. Under certain conditions, the most suitable waste fractions for earthworks can be used by submitting a notification on using waste in earthworks (known as a ‘MARA notification’) to the Uusimaa ELY Centre. The application of the MARA notification is based on the MARA Decree (Government decree on the use of certain waste types in earthworks, 843/2017). If this involves a very small amount of waste, you can notify Helsinki’s environmental supervision.

Read more about small-scale utilisation of waste.

Read more about the environmental permit.

Worksite fencing and schedule

A worksite must be fenced when necessary to separate it from its surroundings safely and appropriately. Pay special attention to ensuring smooth pedestrian traffic. The size, structure, material and colour of the worksite fence must fit in with its surroundings.

A worksite that will have an essential impact on its surroundings must have a worksite board or similar announcement set up well in advance. The board must include at least the following information in Finnish and Swedish:

  • target site and address
  • contact information of the party undertaking the construction project
  • start and end date.

You can find the City of Helsinki’s own worksite board templates and instructions in the Worksite Experience Guide. (Link leads to external service)

You can find all worksite regulations in Section 8 of the City of Helsinki Building Code

A worksite must be in good and clean condition. The worksite must be managed so that it does not damage persons or property, disturb traffic or other activities, or cause other unreasonable harm to the environment. Construction materials must be stored protected, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Once the construction is completed, temporary worksite buildings, fences and similar structures must be removed without delay, and the worksite area must be cleaned. Damaged streets or other areas must be restored without delay.

You can find all worksite regulations in Section 8 of the City of Helsinki Building Code