While the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (UWWTD) has seen a high level of implementation – 98% of EU waste waters are adequately collected and 92% adequately treated, according to the 2019 REFIT Evaluation – the initial Directive was focused on pollution from domestic sources collected and treated in centralised facilities. Less attention was given to other sources of urban pollution from small settlements, non-centralised treatment facilities or the affect of heavy rains, which is an increasing problem with the consequent storm water overflows and urban runoff representing an E. Coli hazard.

The European Commission also says that the UWWTD is falling short of EU Green Deal policy objectives, other than in reducing pollution. The sector accounts for 0.8% of the total energy use in the EU and was responsible, in 2018, for 0.86% of the total EU greenhouse gas emissions. The Commission says almost one third of these emissions could be avoided by improving treatment process, better using sludge and increasing the uptake of energy efficiency and renewable technologies which remain low.

The proposal, unveiled in October, was welcomed by EurEau, whose members supply 96% of Europe´s population with water. Acting EurEau President, Pär Dalhielm, said it is: “suitably ambitious, as it courageously addresses the remaining environmental pollution and public health protection challenges we face in Europe. Additionally, it sets the agenda for waste water services. We acknowledge this vision and we are ready to realise it. “This is possible with time to implement, sufficient investments and regulations that help polluters play a more central role in contributing to the transition.”

Source: Water News Europe

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