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Urban Waste Water Directive Overview

Latest news

  • map24/01/2014: The new EEA urban waste water interactive map is online here.
  • 07/08/2013: The 7th Implementation Report on the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive has been adopted. Read it here...
  • July 2013: Green Public Procurement: Criteria for Waste Water Infrastructure published.  Read the report here.
  • "Would you drink your wastewater? A water brochure for young people" is published. Read it here.

 

The Council Directive 91/271/EEC concerning urban waste-water treatment was adopted on 21 May 1991. Its objective is to protect the environment from the adverse effects of urban waste water discharges and discharges from certain industrial sectors (see Annex III of the Directive) and concerns the collection, treatment and discharge of:

  • Domestic waste water
  • Mixture of waste water
  • Waste water from certain industrial sectors (see Annex III of the Directive)

This is illustrated in the figure below:

Waste per industrial sector

(click on the picture to enlarge it)

Four main principles are laid down in the Directive:

Specifically the Directive requires:

  • The Collection and treatment of waste water in all agglomerations of >2000 population equivalents (p.e.);
  • Secondary treatment of all discharges from agglomerations of > 2000 p.e., and more advanced treatment for agglomerations >10 000 population equivalents in designated sensitive areas and their catchments;
  • A requirement for pre-authorisation of all discharges of urban wastewater, of discharges from the food-processing industry and of industrial discharges into urban wastewater collection systems;
  • Monitoring of the performance of treatment plants and receiving waters; and
  • Controls of sewage sludge disposal and re-use, and treated waste water re-use whenever it is appropriate.

The EEA urban waste water interactive map is available here.