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18 European civil society organizations urge to strengthen the new UWWTD Directive

  • 18 European civil society organizations urge to strengthen the new UWWTD Directive
    (Image: Pablo González-Cebrián)
  • Signatory organizations include the European Environmental Bureau, Surfrider Foundation Europe and Wetlands International Europe.
  • The Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive (UWWTD) is currently being updated to better align with the objectives of the European Green Deal and the EU's zero pollution action plan.

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Facing the increasing environmental challenges in Europe, 18 civil society organizations, including the European Environmental Bureau, Surfrider Foundation Europe, and Wetlands International Europe, have made a call to strengthen the new Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive (UWWTD).

Since adopted in 1991, the UWWTD has been a cornerstone in wastewater management. It is currently being updated to better align with the objectives of the European Green Deal and the EU's zero pollution action plan. This revision represents not only an adaptation to current needs but also a commitment to a sustainable future for water resources.

The proposals put forward by these organizations for a more comprehensive and sustainable management of urban wastewater include:

  • Removal of derogations post-2027: They claim the need to strictly adhere to wastewater treatment standards, eliminating previously allowed exemptions.
  • Regulation consistency: They seek coherent rules across the EU to ensure harmonized and efficient management.
  • Focus on elimination of micropollutants: They emphasize the importance of maintaining a high level of ambition in micropollutant removal to ensure water quality.
  • Urban Wastewater Management Plans: They underline the need to implement integrated and timely management plans to address urban pollution and the challenges of climate change.
  • Agreement with the Water Framework Directive: They ensure that the UWWTD revision should strengthen and not undermine the objectives set in the Water Framework Directive.
  • Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR): They propose a scheme for producers to contribute to the costs associated with micropollutant removal.
  • Energy neutrality and circularity: They advocate for an energy neutrality goal and circularity requirements that do not compromise the EU's zero pollution ambition.
  • Prevention of biomedia leakages: They suggest a comprehensive framework to prevent leakages in the use of wastewater treatment technologies.

Regarding the negotiation schedule of the directive, trilogues are currently underway between the European Parliament, the European Commission, and the Council of the EU. These negotiations are crucial in determining the final form of the new directive, aiming to achieve a consensus that reflects the environmental and sustainability needs of the region while addressing the concerns of different Member States.

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