Science communication


Consultation reply: Evaluation of the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive

Text: Hanna Sjölund

The Baltic Sea Centre has today answered the European Commission's consultation on the evaluation of the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (UWWTD).

Among the questions proposed, the reply focuses on the relevance criteria. Our primary message is that the UWWTD needs to be part of the solution, to fulfil and reach the targets under both the current and future Water Framework Directive, its daughters, and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive. For this to happen the directive needs to be revised to include removal of hazardous substances in addition to the currently regulated removal of nitrogen, phosphorous and organic matter in wastewater treatment plants (wwtps).

In our research we have found that out of the 615 WWTPs within 20 km from the Baltic Sea coast, ca 45 plants receive wastewater from more than 100 000 p.e. and together treat wastewater from almost 70% of the coastal population. Upgrading these large WWTPs with advanced treatment technologies would on average remove 70-80% of the micropollutants in outgoing water, reducing the total load from all coastal WWTPs by approximately 50%.

We believe that with increasing water scarcity the potential price of inaction may prove more costly than taking action now.

For more information read our policy brief on advanced wastewater treatment.