Urban wastewater collection and treatment improving
The latest figures for wastewater treatment in Europe show improvements in collection and treatment, even if big differences remain between Member States. Frontrunners such as Austria, Germany and the Netherlands largely meet 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. The report shows that the vast majority (91 %) of the pollution load from the EU's big cities receives more stringent treatment, a considerable improvement on the situation in the previous report (77 %). This progress comes with significant EU investment support, amounting to EUR 14.3 billion 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."