European wastewater treatment trends 'going in right direction'
Trends in the collection and treatment for urban wastewater treatment in Europe are "going in the right direction" even though big differences remain between EU member states.
According to the EU figures, Austria, Germany and the Netherlands are among the frontrunners largely meeting EU minimum standards for wastewater treatment, with several others being very close. Newer Member States, starting from a lower baseline, have also improved overall collection and treatment despite lower compliance rates.
This progress comes with significant EU investment support, amounting to €14.3B between 2007-2013.
Environment commissioner Janez Potočnik said: "Wastewater treatment is one of those fundamental tests for society: are we cleaning up the mess we create, or are we fouling the environment we depend upon? I am relieved to see the trends going in the right direction, and I am also happy to see that commission action, a mix of financial support and tough legal action when necessary, has paid dividends for Europe's citizens."
The vast majority (91%) of the pollution load from the EU's big cities receives more stringent treatment, said the report, which is a considerable improvement on the situation in the previous report (77%).
Also, better water treatment and fewer raw sewage discharges into the environment have also improved bathing water quality. In the early 1990s, only around 60% of bathing sites had excellent quality water, whereas the figure is now 78%.
The report, covering 2009-2010, said collection rates were at a very high level, with 15 member states collecting 100% of their total polluting load. All had maintained or improved previous results, although compliance rates remained below 30% in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia and Slovenia.
Compliance rates for secondary treatment are 82%, up four points since the previous report. But there were huge differences between the EU-15, where rates were in the range 90-100%, and EU-12, where average compliance was 39%.
The compliance rates for more stringent treatment to combat eutrophication or reduce bacteriological pollution that could affect human health were 77% overall. EU-12 member states averaged only 14%, whereas Austria, Germany, Greece, and Finland reached 100% compliance.
- Seashells offer 'significant savings' for wastewater treatment Seashells left over from restaurants, hotels, commercial farming and other foodservice outlets could be used to treat... Read More >
- Irish Water plans €2.5m treatment plant in Galway Irish Water is set to submit a planning application to Galway County Council this week, for the construction of a new €2.5... Read More >
- UU issues £80M tender for changes to Royton and Oldham WwTWs United Utilities has issued an OJEU tender concerning wastewater treatment plant construction work at Royton and Oldham.... Read More >
- Comment: Sludge all set for reform The opening of the bioresources market presents water companies with an opportunity to do things differently, but what... Read More >
- Interview: Ben Jeffs, Chief Executive, MOSL “The whole industry has really mobilised around market opening, and the water companies deserve credit for that.” Read More >
- Close-Up: Who will be the big fish in the new water retail market? With a £2.5BN new market for non-domestic water retail to open in England in April, joint ventures, incumbents and new... Read More >
- Water Industry Procurement: could Brexit provide a fresh start? Could Brexit lead to a re-examination of the procurement rules which govern the water industry and other infrastructure... Read More >
- Industry View: Let's not drop the ball after PR19 There must be better alignment between PR19 strategic plans and actual delivery plans if water companies are to get full... Read More >