EC refers Spain to court over urban wastewater failings
The EC is taking Spain to court for failing to ensure that wastewater is properly treated. The development comes 11 years after Spain was first warned about this particular case, which concerns areas with a population equivalent of more than 10,000.
Although some problems have since been solved, the slow rate of progress has now led the EC, on the recommendation of Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries commissioner Karmenu Vella, to refer the case to the EU Court of Justice.
EU legislation on urban wastewater treatment dates back to 1991. By the end of 1993, member states had to identify "sensitive areas" where more stringent treatment is required (sensitive areas include areas where freshwater is abstracted for drinking water). They had to put in place systems to collect and treat water entering these sensitive areas by December 31, 1998.
Spain has lagged behind in implementing the legislation, and reports from the Spanish authorities show that appropriate treatment is still lacking in areas such as Berga, Figueres, El Terri (Banyoles), all in Catalonia, and Pontevedra-Marín-Poio-Bueu, in Galicia. For some other areas (Bollullos Par del Condado, Andalusia, and Abrera and Capellades, both in Catalonia) the commission takes the view that the data submitted is either incomplete, or shows a failure to comply with the appropriate standards.
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