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EC starts evaluation process for Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive

The European Commission has launched an online public consultation as the first phase of the re-evaluation process for the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive – one of the most significant pieces of EU legislation aimed at driving up water quality standards.

The latest figures show that 95% of the EU’s urban waste water is collected and over 85% is treated according to the Directive’s requirements. Introducing the evaluation, the Commission said:

“The implementation of the Directive remains challenging as it requires proper governance, significant investments and adequate competences.”

“In the 25 years of the Directive’s existence many changes have occurred……In addition, the ambition to create a European circular economy has taken concrete shape.”

The evaluation will be closely coordinated with the planned fitness check evaluating the performance of the Water Framework Directive and the Floods Directive.

Key questions the Commission is seeking comment on include:

How relevant is the Directive in the light of the changing international contexts, such as the Sustainable Development Goals in 2030?
What are the main barriers to full implementation?
To what extent are the main targeted pollutants collected and treated in an effective way?
To what extent is the Directive achieving the polluter pays principle?
How well does the Directive promote a sustainable approach, for example for phosphorus and nitrogen recycling, for treatment plants to be neutral from energy/GHG emissions?
To what extent are the main pollutants released by urban areas collected and treated?

The EC wants to assess whether the Directive has achieved the expected results in an efficient manner at both Member State and EU level, together with quantifying the costs and benefits associated with the implementation of the UWWTD and whether they are proportionate.

The evaluation will also seek to address the main financing, investment and management issues – including how compliance with the Directive impacts on the affordability of water services.

To assist the analysis, the Commission said:

“Particular effort will be made to collect additional information on the costs and benefits of collecting waste water and different levels of treatment and to assess administrative burden and the impact of funding mechanisms.”

Planned completion date of the evaluation process, which will be rolled out in phases, is Q1 2019.

Deadline to submit responses to the online public consultation is 9 November 2017.

Click here to access the consultation.

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