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Legislation: Urban Waste Water Directive and its requirements

In this section of the website you can find:


Evaluation of the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive

A REFIT Evaluation process for the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (UWWTD) was started in October 2017. The Evaluation will follow the principles of the Better Regulation Guidelines for Fitness Checks and Evaluations, and the findings will feed into the Commission's reflection on possible further action. The Evaluation will assess five criteria: effectiveness, coherence, efficiency, relevance, and EU-added value by analysing the Directive's objectives, requirements and implementation in the last 25 years in the entire EU.

The Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive is closely linked to the Water Framework Directive (WFD), as it is a basic measure under this Directive and therefore essential for the achievement of the objectives of the WFD. The evaluation of the UWWTD will run a little ahead of the Fitness Check for the WFD, its daughter directives and the Floods Directive. The results of the evaluations are therefore expected to provide useful input to the Fitness Check.

More information on the Evaluation process:

  • 12/10-9/11/2017: A Roadmap for the evaluation was published in October 2017, which informs citizens and stakeholders about the Commission's Evaluation work. Feedback received on the Roadmap can be found on the link above.
  • 22/05/2018: Publication of the consultation strategy. The strategy lays out the joint approach with the Fitness Check on the WFD, its daughters and the Floods Directive to ensure comprehensive and efficient stakeholder interaction.

Consultation activities as part of the Evaluation:

  • An online public consultation in all EU official languages was open from 13 July until 19 October 2018. Results will be published when available.
  • A stakeholder conference took place on 16th November 2018. Stakeholders discussed and validated the preliminary findings of the Evaluative Study. Available information from the conference can be found here.
  • Three technical workshops on key issues took place: 1) Emerging Pollutants on 24th October 2018 (jointly with the WFD Fitness Check); 2) Storm water overflows and Individual appropriate system on 25th October 2018; and 3) Cost and benefits of the directive on 8th November 2018. Information can be found here.

Documents/studies relevant for the Evaluation:

  • The BLUE2 study - the European Commission is conducting a study on the socio-economic assessment of policies aiming to improve the quality of freshwater and the marine environment. The study has two parts. The purpose of Part A is to identify the economic benefits of the EU water policy and the cost of its non-implementation. Part B is supporting a wider effort to build up a Europe-wide capacity for the integrated assessment modelling of policies that affect the quality of the freshwater and marine environment.
  • The OECD, together with the European Commission, is carrying out a study to support strategic thinking at EU and Member State level about the financing of the water sector in the years to come. The study is conducted under the umbrella of the Roundtable on financing water.
  • Fitness Check of EU Water Policy (Blueprint 2012). The results of the 2012 Fitness Check of EU Water policy will be an important contribution for this Fitness Check.
  • Relevant LIFE projects, which can be identified via the database of LIFE projects.
  • The recent Commission's study on environmental integration in cohesion policy, which contains an analysis of funding for water during the three most recent funding periods.
  • The ex-post Evaluation of 2007-2013 cohesion policy.
  • Analysis of relevant EU research projects to be completed by the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (RTD) mid-2018.
  • Mapping microplastics in sludge – a study from 2017 by the Norwegian Institute for Water Research, on behalf of the Norwegian Environment Agency.
  • Study on storm water overflows - Assessment of impact of storm water overflows from combined waste water collecting systems on water bodies (including the marine environment) in the 27 EU Member States from 2016.
  • Study on potential replacement of the COD parameter in the UWWTD.
  • The European Court of Auditors special reports:


If you have any questions about the Evaluation of the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive or any suggestions that could help us, in general, to improve this site, please send an email to the functional Urban Waste Water mailbox of DG Environment: