A New Industrial Emissions Directive: Mastering water efficiency and reuse challenges


On the 23rd of March, the European Commission closed its public consultation on the revision of the Industrial Emissions Directive. Water Europe is glad to contribute to this discussion with the release of its new position paperA New Industrial Emissions Directive: Mastering water efficiency and reuse challenges’. 

The Industrial Emission Directive has proven its added value with the industrial emissions being decreased over the past decade in Europe. However, it is now time to focus on pollution reduction to water and soil and improve water efficiency. Therefore, Water Europe welcomes the initiative of the European Commission to update this directive which will contribute to securing European competitiveness, improving our environmental legacy for future generations and strengthening European strategic autonomy.

In this context and in order to achieve a Water-Smart Society, Water Europe suggests the following objectives:

  1. Leveraging water-related standards in each BREF
  2. Setting-up horizontal BREF on water efficiency
  3. Including mandatory systems assessment for water usage
  4. Incentivizing industrial water efficiency, cascading and reuse water through subsidies
  5. Deploying digital water solutions for water-energy efficiencies and the decarbonization of European industry

Examples of Water-Smart practices for a New Industrial Emissions Directive are already available:

– The ZeroBrine project– which aims to prove that minerals, such as magnesium and clean water, can be recovered from industrial processes to then be reused in other industries – intends to contribute to the improvement of the LVIC-S BREF (Large volume inorganic chemicals – solids and other industry), the TXT BREF (Textile Industry) and the WT BREF (Waste Treatment).

– The Rewatch project – which aims at decreasing the environmental footprint of the petrochemical industry – addresses the REF BREF (Refining of Mineral Oil and Gas) and the CWW BREF (Common Wastewater and Waste Gas Treatment/management Systems in the chemical sector).

In addition, the two projects consider the option of a horizontal BREF on water efficiency.

For more information please download the full position paper here.


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