Fundamental revision of the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive provokes conflicting reactions from European Union member states
Council Directive 91/271/EEC of 21st May 1991, the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (UWWTD), entered into force 32 years ago, which is a respectable age for a legal regulation. Since then, through the consistent implementation of its requirements, good results in water protection have been achieved in practice. Between 1990 and 2014, there was a reduction in the amount of pollutants in treated and discharged urban waste water for organic pollution expressed as BOD5 by 61 %, for total nitrogen by 32 %, and for total phosphorus by 44 %. The extensive support pro-vided to cities and municipalities from EU financial instruments as well as from national sources and the relatively strict application of sanctions have led, according to data published by the European Commission (EC), to the fact that currently 98 % of waste water in the EU is effectively collected and removed of and 92 % properly treated. Until now, the Directive’s requirements have primarily focused on centralized systems for the collection, removal, and treatment of waste water in agglomerations producing loads at the level of 2,000 population equivalent (PE) and more.