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You are here: Home / Data and maps / Indicators / Urban waste water treatment / Urban waste water treatment (CSI 024) - Assessment published Jan 2009

Urban waste water treatment (CSI 024) - Assessment published Jan 2009

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Generic metadata

Topics:

Water Water (Primary topic)

Tags:
waste water treatment | csi | waste water | soer2010 | water | water resources | thematic assessments | waste
DPSIR: Response
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
Indicator codes
  • CSI 024
 
Contents
 

Key policy question: How effective are existing policies in reducing loading discharges of nutrients and organic matter?

Key messages

Wastewater treatment in all parts of Europe has improved during the last 15-20 years. The percentage of the population connected to wastewater treatment in the southern, south-eastern and eastern Europe has increased during last ten years, but is still relative low compared to the central and northern Europe.

Changes in wastewater treatment in regions of Europe between 1990 and 2005

Note: Only countries with data from (almost) all periods were included, the numbers of countries are given in parentheses

Data source:

EEA-ETC/WTR based on country data reported to OECD/EUROSTAT Joint Questionnaire. Data are available at Eurostat data tables.

Downloads and more info

Changes in wastewater treatment in northern countries of Europe between 1980s and 2005

Note: N/A

Data source:

EEA-ETC/WTR based on country data reported to OECD/EUROSTAT Joint Questionnaire. Data are available at Eurostat data tables.

Downloads and more info

Changes in Changes in wastewater treatment in countries of Europe between 1980s and 2005 (Western)

Note: N/A

Data source:

EEA-ETC/WTR based on country data reported to OECD/EUROSTAT Joint Questionnaire. Data are available at Eurostat data tables.

Downloads and more info

Changes in wastewater treatment in countries of Europe between 1980s and 2005 (Southern)

Note: N/A

Data source:

EEA-ETC/WTR based on country data reported to OECD/EUROSTAT Joint Questionnaire. Data are available at Eurostat data tables.

Downloads and more info

Changes in wastewater treatment in countries of Europe between 1980s and 2005 (East)

Note: N/A

Data source:

EEA-ETC/WTR based on country data reported to OECD/EUROSTAT Joint Questionnaire. Data are available at Eurostat data tables.

Downloads and more info

Changes in wastewater treatment in countries of Europe between 1995 and 2005 (South-Eastern)

Note: N/A

Data source:

EEA-ETC/WTR based on country data reported to OECD/EUROSTAT Joint Questionnaire. Data are available at Eurostat data tables.

Downloads and more info

Key assessment

The main objective of the Urban Waste Water Treatment (UWWT) Directive is to protect the environment from the adverse effects of urban waste water discharges and discharges from certain industrial sectors and the measures concerns the collection, treatment and discharge of most of the waste water.

As a rule, the UWWT Directive provides for biological waste water treatment (secondary treatment), and thus a drastic reduction of the biodegradable pollution in waste water - which otherwise would severely impact on oxygen balance and ecosystems of our waters. In the catchments of particularly sensitive waters (sensitive areas), such as those suffering from eutrophication, more stringent treatment measures are required, to additionally eliminate nutrient pollution (nitrogen and phosphorus) from waste water (tertiary treatment).

 

The success indicators used in this assessment to measure the reduction in discharges of nutrients and organic matter from urban waste water to European surface waters are:

1. Percentage of population connected to waste water treatment.

2. Percentage of waste water given tertiary treatment.

 

1. Percentage of population connected to waste water treatment (Fig. 1 and the individual countries in Fig. 2-6). In northern and also in southern European countries more than 80 % of the population is connected to waste water treatment. In sparcely populated countries with a relative high proportion of the population living in scattered dwellings these dwelling are not connected to collecting systems and normally served by individual waste water treatment (e.g. septic tanks). In central Europe more than 90 % is connected. In eastern Europe only 50 % is connected (last data are from 2002, so this percentage may be higher now), whereas in south-eastern Europe (Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania) there is only 35 % that are connected to waste water treatment plants.

 

2. Percentage of waste water given tertiary treatment (yellow color on Fig. 1 to 6). Most of the population in the northern countries is connected to waste water treatment plants with the highest levels of treatment (tertiary), which efficiently removes nutrients (phosphorus or nitrogen or both) and organic matter. More than half of the waste water in central European countries is subject to tertiary treatment. In southern and eastern Europe only 20 % get tertiary treatment. Around half of the wastewater in southern European countries and 25 % in eastern Europe receive only secondary treatment. In south-eastern Europe the level of tertiary treatment is minor (< 5 %), whereas 20 % is subject to secondary treatment.

 

Specific policy question: What is the level of the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (91/271/ECC) implementation in large cities of the EU Member States?

Number of EU15 agglomerations of more than 150 000 p.e. by treatment level, situation on 1st January 2003.

Note: N/A

Data source:

DGENV 2007

Downloads and more info

Specific assessment

The lastest from 2007 EU Commissions Urban Waste Water Treatment (UWWT) Directive implementation report  can be found on http://ec.europa.eu/environment/water/water-framework/implrep2007/index_en.htm. According to this report waste water treatment in 349 out of the 571 big cities of Europe complied with the treatment requirements of the UWWT Directive without any need for updating the treatment. 122 of the 571 big cities with population equivalent more than 150 000 did not have a sufficient standard of treatment on 1st of January 2003 to meet the objectives of the UWWT Directive. 17 had no treatment at all. No information is available for four cities. These big cities account for 55% of the total waste water pollution load of organic matter covered by the 1998 and 2000 UWWT Directive deadlines (i.e. of > 470 mil. p.e.). 

 

Further information can be found in the WISE section on Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive http://www.eea.europa.eu/themes/water/water-pollution/prevention-strategies/urban-waste-water-treatment-directive.

 

Specific assessments of waste water treatment in different countries:

Northern Europe: Most of the waste water (80%) in Finland, Sweden and Norway receives tertiary treatment (Fig. 2), while in Iceland the waste water from half of the population is not treated at all and the other half only receive primary treatment. The trends in the rate of national population connected to the UWWTPs are affected by changes in the ratio of rural/urban population as well as by increasing use of separate individual treatment plants in rural areas.

 

Central Europe: In Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, Austria and the Netherlands most of the population is connected to the tertiary treatment (Fig. 3). In Ireland more than 30 % has no treatment at all and more than 40 % of waste water receives only primary treatment. In Belgium more than 60 % of the population had no treatment at all at the time of the last reporting (1998), but national state of the environment reports indicate marked improvement in waste water treatment over the last decade.

 

Southern Europe: The best situation is in Spain where more than 90% of population is connected to treatment systems (fig. 4). The worst situation is in Malta, where almost 90 % of population has no treatment of their waste water at all. In France 80 % is connected, whereas the percentage connected to waste water treatment in Italy, Greece and Portugal is higher than 60 %,  higher than  50 % and ca. 40 %, respectively. Tertiary treatment is minor in this region in general with maximum 20 % of the total waste water (Italy, France and Spain), and less than 10 % in Greece and Portugal

 

Eastern Europe:  More than 65 % of the population in the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania is connected to the waste water treatment, and roughly half of the waste water connected to treatment systems is given tertiary treatment (fig. 5). For Poland and Hungary around 60 % of the population is connected to waste water treatment systems. In Poland about half of the connected wastewater are given tertiary treatment, whereas in Hungary only 10 % gets tertiary treatment. The worst situation is in Slovenia, where almost 70 % of the population is not connected to waste water treatment systems. For Slovakia there is no detailed information on treatment type available.

 

South-Eastern Europe: In south eastern European countries (Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania) only around 40% of the population is connected to the waste water treatment, with most of the connected waste water receiving only secondary or primary treatment (fig. 6). Only in Turkey there is a small proportion of the waste water that receives tertiary treatment.

 

Data sources

More information about this indicator

See this indicator specification for more details.

Contacts and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Peter Kristensen

Ownership

EEA Management Plan

2010 (note: EEA internal system)

Dates

Frequency of updates

Updates are scheduled every 2 years in October-December (Q4)
Document Actions
European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Denmark
Phone: +45 3336 7100