A new Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive paves the way towards a circular, green, and smart water management


Last week, the Council and the European Parliament reached an agreement on the recast of the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive. After 30 years, this new legislation aims to adapt wastewater management in Europe to the current challenges. In particular, this agreement includes:

  • Progressive reinforcement of different treatments:
    • Application of secondary treatment to urban wastewater, before it is discharged into the environment, to all agglomerations of 1.000 p.e. or more by 2035.
    • Application of tertiary treatment in all plants covering 150.000 p.e.e and above by 2039 and plants covering 10.000 p.e. and above by 2045.
    • Mandatory application of quaternary treatment for all plants of over 10.000 p.e. by 2045.
  • Unlocking the potential of water reuse particularly in water-stressed areas.
  • Improving the monitoring of Contaminants of emerging concerns, microplastics, including PFAS.
  • A better implementation of the polluter pays principle with the extended producer responsibility in which the cosmetic and medical sectors will contribute at least to 80% of the cost for the quaternary treatment
  • Paving the way for an emissions reduction by having 100% renewable energy used by treatment plants by 2045.

Learn more here. Read Water Europe’s position paper on the UWWTD and our joint statement on the Polluter Pays Principle.


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