EU Commission urges BULGARIA, CZECHIA, FRANCE and POLAND to comply with EU rules for treating urban waste water

The Commission is urging Bulgaria, Czechia, France and Poland to ensure that urban waste water is adequately collected and treated, as required by Directive 91/271/EECon the treatment of urban waste water.

The Directive protects both water quality and human health by requiring that Member States collect and treat their urban waste water before it is discharged into the environment.

For agglomerations of 2,000 people or more, the treatment requires not only elimination of solid matter but also the breaking down of the organic substances by using bacteria.

Bulgaria failsto provide a collecting system in 48 big agglomerations, in 69 big agglomerations it fails to ensure that the urban waste water entering collecting systems is subject to appropriate treatment and in 71 big agglomerations – does not ensure that the urban waste water entering collecting systems and discharging into sensitive areas is subject to more stringent treatment. All these agglomerations should have been compliant by 31 December 2010.

Regarding Czechia, the case concerns the failure by 425 agglomerations to provide a collecting system and to ensure that the urban waste water entering collecting systems is subject to appropriate treatment. These agglomerations should have been compliant by 31 December 2010.

Despite some progress, full compliance is not expected in the near future. In the case of France, non-compliance with the obligations of the Directive is still on a large scale as it relates to 169 agglomerations discharging either in normal or sensitive areas. Despite some progress, full compliance is not expected in the near future.

In Poland, 1,183 agglomerations are not provided with a collecting system for urban waste water. Moreover, in 1,282 agglomerations the urban waste water entering collecting systems is not subject to appropriate treatment before discharge. Finally, Poland has not ensured that in 426 agglomerations urban waste water entering collecting systems and discharging into sensitive areas is subject to more stringent treatment.

Therefore, the Commission is sending reasoned opinions to all four countries, giving them four months to remedy the situation. Should they fail to take appropriate action, the Commission may decide to refer them to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Vivian Loonela

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