Urban wastewater treatment

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Assessment made on  01 Jan 2001

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Water Water (Primary theme)

DPSIR: Response

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Policy issue:  How effective are Europe's policies for urban wastewater treatment?

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Key assessment

The Directive sets out what sort of treatment systems (primary, secondary and tertiary) are required in different situations - for example making secondary treatment systems, which use biological processes to break down organic material, essential wherever discharges flow directly into fresh waters or estuaries.

The Directive is resulting in increased treatment capacity in all EU countries except Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands, where it was already sufficient. The largest increase will be seen in southern Europe and Ireland.

As a result, the EU's collection and treatment systems should be able to cope with all organic discharges from most Member States by 2005, reducing nutrient and organic matter pollution further. The most significant improvements are expected to be seen in levels of phosphorous and biochemical oxygen demand in southern Europe.

Related content

European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Denmark
Phone: +45 3336 7100