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You are here: Home / Data and maps / Indicators / Urban waste water treatment / Urban waste water treatment (CSI 024) - Assessment published Dec 2010

Urban waste water treatment (CSI 024) - Assessment published Dec 2010

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Generic metadata

Topics:

Water Water (Primary topic)

Tags:
water resources | soer2010 | thematic assessments
DPSIR: Response
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
Indicator codes
  • CSI 024
Dynamic
Temporal coverage:
1980, 1985, 1990-2007
Geographic coverage:
Austria Belgium Bulgaria Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Estonia Finland France Germany Greece Hungary Iceland Ireland Latvia Lithuania Luxembourg Malta Netherlands Norway Poland Portugal Romania Slovakia Slovenia Spain Sweden Switzerland Turkey United Kingdom
 
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 2007

Note: This figure illustrates the percentage population per European region connected to an Urban Wastewater Treatment Plant over the period 1990 to 2007. In addition, a breakdown by treatment type is portrayed.

Data source:

EEA-ETC/WTR (CSI024) based on data reported to OECD/EUROSTAT Joint Questionnaire 2008. Data are available at Eurostat data tables.

Downloads and more info

Changes in wastewater treatment in Northern European countries between 1980s and 2006

Note: Percentage of population connected to different types of wastewater treatment.

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 Western European countries between 1980s and 2007

Note: Percentage of population connected to different types of wastewater treatment.

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 Southern European countries between 1980s and 2007

Note: Percentage of population connected to different types of wastewater treatment.

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 Eastern European countries between 1980s and 2007

Note: Percentage of population connected to different types of wastewater treatment.

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 South-eastern European countries between 1980s and 2007

Note: Percentage of population connected to different types of wastewater treatment.

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 and national legislation for non-EU countries is to protect surface waters from the adverse effects of wastewater discharges. This is achieved through the requirement for collection and treatment of wastewater in all settlements (agglomerations) and areas of economic activity with a population equivalent (p.e.) larger than 2000. As a rule, the UWWT Directive provides for biological treatment of waste water  (secondary treatment), which would otherwise deplete oxygen levels in receiving waters, threatening aquatic ecosystems. In catchments with particularly sensitive waters (sensitive areas), such as those suffering from eutrophication, more stringent tertiary waste water treatment measures are required, in order to substantially reduce nutrient pollution (nitrogen and phosphorus) from waste water.


Percentage of national population connected to waste water treatment.
About 80 % of the population is connected to waste water treatment in Northern and Southern European countries. The connection rate in Central European countries is even higher, at 90 %. On the basis of data reported in 2006-2007, about 65 % of total population is connected to wastewater treatment in the countries of Eastern Europe. Average connection in  South-Eastern Europe (Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania) is about 40 % .
Percentage of national population connected to tertiary waste water treatment
More than 70 % of the population in Northern and Central Europe is connected to a wastewater treatment plant that implements tertiary treatment, substantially removing nutrients and organic matter. Wastewater generated by more than 40% of the population in Southern and Eastern Europe receives tertiary treatment. This represents a 20% increase over last five years. In South-Eastern Europe the percentage of population connected to treatment plants with tertiary treatment is low (8,5%), with 21% of the population of the region being connected to secondary treatment.

Timetable for the compliance with the UWWT Directive varies for EU15  and for new EU Member States (EU12). For Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and UK the latest date to fully comply with the Directive was 31/12/2005. For the new Member States in Central and Eastern Europe and in the Mediterranean, staged transitional periods have been set in a clear and legally binding way within the Accession Treaties; In principle these transitional periods do not exceed the year 2015; only in Romania, smaller agglomerations (with less than 10,000 p.e.) have to comply with the Directive by the end of 2018.

Specific regional assessment
Northern Europe (Fig. 2):  The connection rate is around 80 % in Norway, Sweden and Finland and, in the case of the latter two, treatment is entirely at a tertiary level. In Norway, however, about a quarter of those connected receive primary treatment only. In Iceland waste water from half of the population is not treated at all whilst the other half receives primary treatment. 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 (Fig. 3): Central Europe has the highest overall connection rates in Europe. In Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Austria and the Netherlands the rate of population connected to tertiary treatment range between 77-96 %.  England and Wales and Scotland report connection rates to tertiary treatment are about 45%, whilst in Ireland the figure is considerably lower at 12 %., Secondary treatment in Ireland, however, increased considerably (more than tripled) between 2001 and 2005. Connection rate to tertiary treatment is relatively low in Belgium and Luxembourg 36% and 22%, respectively.

Southern Europe (Fig. 4): The overall rate of population connected to wastewater treatment ranges from 13% to 85 % in the countries of Southern Europe, being highest in Greece (85%) and Spain (81%)  and lowest in Malta (13%).Tertiary treatment occurs most often in Greece and Spain with rates of 78% and 42% respectively. In other countries of the region the percentage of population connected to tertiary treatment is lower than 20%.

Eastern Europe (Fig. 5): The overall rate of population connected to wastewater treatment ranges from 50 to 75 % in countries of Eastern Europe. About 60 % of population in the Czech Republic and Estonia is connected to tertiary treatment. In Poland, Latvia and Lithuania, the rate of connection to tertiary treatment is lower, about 40%; while Hungary and Slovenia report the lowest connection rate to tertiary treatment in the Eastern Europe region 20% and 13%, respectively. For Slovakia there is no detailed information on treatment type available in Joint Questionnaire, however according to the data reported in 2007 under the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive, 23% of total load generated in agglomerations larger than 2000 p.e.receives tertiary treatment and 63 % of total load is treated in plants equipped with secondary treatment.

South-Eastern Europe (Fig. 6).; The rate of population connected to waste water treatment plants ranges from 28 to 42 % in countries of South-Eastern Europe. Secondary or primary treatment prevails. Some tertiary treatment is applied in Turkey (10%).

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 EU agglomerations of more than 150 000 p.e. by treatment level, situation on 31st December 2005/2006

Note: The pie-chart summarizes the type of treatment applied in the wastewater treatment plants of 297 big cities/big dischargers (129,3 mil. p.e.) reported in 2007 by 18 Member States (AT, BE, CY, DK, EE, FI, FR, DE, HU, LV, LT, LX, NL, PT, RO, SK, SI, SE)

Data source:

EEA-ETC/WTR based on country data reported via the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive

Downloads and more info

Specific assessment

The lastest 2009 EU Commissions Urban Waste Water Treatment (UWWT) Directive implementation report  can be found here DGENV 2009, 5th synthesis report on UWWTD implementation .

Figure 7 summarizes the type of treatment applied in the wastewater treatment plants of 297 big cities/big dischargers (129,3 mil. p.e.) reported in 2007 by 18 Member States (AT, BE, CY, DK, EE, FI, FR, DE, HU, LV, LT, LX, NL, PT, RO, SK, SI, SE).  86 % of the total generated load produced in big cities (111,9 mil.p.e.) is discharged in sensitive areas out of which , 76 % of the total generated load receives more stringent – tertiary - treatment. Remaining load of 14% (17,4 mil p.e.) produced in big cities/big dischargers is discharged in normal or less sensitive areas. In ‘normal’ and ‘less sensitive’ areas 38 % (6,6 mil p.e.) of the generated big city load receives secondary treatment, and   46 % (7,98 mil.p.e.) receives more stringent tertiary treatment, at a standard, therefore, higher than that required by the UWWT Directive.
Out of big cities reported in 2007, five had no waste water treatment at all: one in Portugal and four in Romania. Another four had only primary treatment: two in Portugal and one  in France and Romania. 

Further information can be found in the WISE section on Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive and WISE Viewer maps Urban Waste Water

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 1.4.2 (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