Environment: Wastewater matters too: Orgalim’s recommendations for the revision of the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive

Published: 22 May 2020

Policies & Issues: Environment

Extreme weather conditions, the presence of new contaminants and obsolete existing water infrastructure have been identified as some of the main challenges to wastewater treatment capacities. At the same time, 80% of waste water in the world is currently discarded without sufficient cleaning and proper treatment, further impacting and posing a threat to marine and water ecosystems. To alleviate these pressures and enable progress in adequately treated wastewater and overall freshwater quality, Orgalim, Europe’s Technology Industries, advocates for the sustainable use and management of water in Europe.

A wide range of smart and sustainable European technologies apply to industrial and municipal wastewater treatment, resource recovery processes, closed-loop water treatment and nature-based solutions. These technologies have played a key role in reducing pollutants in wastewater, driving forward the main goal of the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (UWWTD, 91/271/EEC) - the EU’s key water legislation.

Orgalim welcomes the European Commission’s (EC) recent Fitness Check of the UWWTD and the finding that the Directive is fit for purpose, with scope to improve its effectiveness. For the Directive to be fit for current and future challenges, Orgalim urges European Union (EU) policymakers to:

  1. Revise the Directive in light of new societal challenges and technological advances, and

  2. Enforce the Directive’s implementation by setting clear targets, enabling sustainable water financing and directly incentivising the deployment of innovative wastewater technologies.

This would further unlock European technologies’ potential to contribute to the achieving of the UN Sustainable Development Agenda and the wider EU policy goals of climate neutrality and adaptation, biodiversity protection, a circular economy, and a zero-polluted environment as enshrined in the European Green Deal.

To read our recommendations in full, please download the document above.


Ivana Jakovljevic
Junior Adviser - Energy and Environment

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