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EurEau newsletter - edition 43 - January 2020









EurEau News

Deloitte study on EPR – keep our water affordable
A Deloitte study on producers’ responsibility to prevent micropollutants from entering the environment finds that the EU should better implement existing legislation to keep our water affordable for everyone.

The study, commissioned by EurEau confirms that control-at-source measures should be better implemented in the EU in line with the requirements set out in Article 191.2 of the EU Treaty. Where this is not sufficient, legislation should introduce fair and effective EPR schemes.

Water service providers should not have to bear the cost if additional treatments become necessary in order to remove micropollutants and microplastics. The cost of this is ultimately passed on to the water consumer, affecting affordability.

You can read the report here: module 1, module 2 and module 3, or download the whole report


EU2 meets in Dublin

Irish Water hosted the EU2 meeting in Dublin in the unique Croke Park Stadium, home of the national Gaelic sports of Gaelic football and hurling. This glorious atmosphere allowed waste water experts to share their ideas on the evaluation of the UWWTD and the current needs of the sector.

EU news

Commission Work Programme 2020

The European Commission adopted its work programme for 2020, where various measures under the Green Deal are spelled out. You can find the document and the annexes here.

Drinking Water Directive – reaching finalisation

The European Parliament, the Finnish Presidency of the Council of the EU and the European Commission reached an early second reading agreement on the Drinking Water Directive on the 18 December 2019. On the 23 January a technical trilogue was scheduled to adopt the recitals to the articles’ text. The COREPER will consider, and eventually endorse, the final text in the coming weeks. Then the ENVI Committee will also hold a vote on the agreed version.

Some preliminary elements on the deal reached can be found here.

Overall the version negotiated by the co-legislators represents an improvement of the European Commission proposal since it reflects much better the WHO recommendations and establishes an EU-wide framework for hygienic requirement for materials that are in contact with drinking water. The risk-based approach is also streamlined and made more coherent, as well as the requirements concerning information to the public. 

In other DW news, the European Chemicals Agency will start compiling a list of substances that can be safely used in materials that come into contact with drinking water. ECHA chief Bjorn Hansen said his agency will “assess substances used in materials to produce, for example, water pipes and taps,” adding that “harmonising the assessment also ensures a level playing field for companies providing these materials across different European countries.” The first list is expected to cover around 1,500 chemicals and will be adopted by the European Commission by 2024.

Water Reuse Regulation: Final approval underway

The European Parliament, the Finnish Presidency of the Council of the EU and the European Commission reached an early second reading agreement on the Water Reuse Regulation on 2 December 2019. On the 21 January, the ENVI committee voted the text agreed.

Overall the version negotiated by the co-legislators is an improvement on the European Commission proposal since the responsibilities of all actors in the chain are involved and standards are strict but feasible. We will continue to follow-up on this through the foreseen guidance for the risk management plan that the Commission has to publish.

UWWTD: our reaction

EurEau welcomes the publication of the evaluation of the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (UWWTD), released on 13 December 2019. But what does this mean for our waste water? Read more here.

Environment Council: water legislation Fitness Check and PFAS

On the 19 December, Environment Ministers met under the Finnish Presidency. The issue on PFAS was on the agenda since the Netherland proposed a restriction dossier under REACH. You can read more on the ‘EU matters’ blog.

The European Commission presented the results of the fitness check on water legislation to Member States. If the legislation is broadly fit for purpose, it could still be improved. For an insight into what Commissioner Sinkevicius said about how water policy might evolve, read the ‘EU matters’ blog.

Circular economy action plan:  EurEau response to the Roadmap

According to the first indices available on the New Circular Economy Action Plan (NCEAP), we are very disappointed that water is not mentioned. Even if “water is not a product like any other” as referred in the Water Framework Directive, it would be a failure for us all in our move towards a circular economy not to include water resources and water services in the plan.

Water is circular, including that service providers recover resources - including energy, organic compounds and nutrients - along the water cycle.

It is of primary importance that the NCEAP supports and accelerates the uptake of those products by the market (biogas, recovered phosphorus, biosolids, reclaimed water, etc.) in order to encourage and secure long-term investments while ensuring the affordability of water services.

Read our response here.

2030 biodiversity strategy: EurEau response to the Roadmap

EurEau commented on the new biodiversity roadmap calling for a better alignment of the Water Framework Directive with the Birds and Habitats Directive and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive. Farming practices should become more sustainable and the release of micropollutants and microplastics to the environment should be addressed at the source.

Read more details and our response here.

Endocrine disruptors: EurEau reaction to the stakeholder consultation

EurEau answered the stakeholder consultation on the Fitness Check of the EU legislation with regard to Endocrine Disruptors. You can find the answer here.

Industrial Emission Directive: evaluation process ending

The European Commission finalised the evaluation of the IED with a workshop at which the consultants presented their first findings. The Commission will explore future options in a Staff Working Document to be published later in 2020. The directive is likely to be revised with the official announcement to be expected in the second semester of 2020.

Generally, IED is seen as fit for purpose, offering tangible added value. If a revision is decided, emissions to water and soil might be subject to additional requirements.

Pesticides: EU to ban thiacloprid

From 30 April 2020 onwards, the use of the pesticide thiacloprid (Calypso, Biscaya) will be prohibited. The product is linked to concerns on bee health, but also impacts negatively on groundwater and human health.

PFAS: ECHA to declare PFBS a substance of very high concern (SVHC)

ECHA’s Member State Committee unanimously supported a Norwegian proposal to declare perfluorobutane sulfonic acid and its salts (PFBS) as a substance of very high concern (SVHC) under REACH due to its high persistence and mobility. The substance is used as a stain resistant coating for textiles and other products, as a flame retardant, in metal plating and as a pesticide.

At the EU Environment Council of December 2019, Denmark, Germany, Sweden and ECHA supported a Dutch proposal to restrict PFAS as a group under REACH by 2030.

CAP: Council presidency wants transitional regulations by mid-2020

The new Common Agricultural Policy will not be approved in time to replace the current scheme, leading to the need for transitional measures. The Croatian Council presidency hopes these measures will be agreed before the summer break, extending the current rules for at least a year. The transitional rules with not introduce any new requirements to serve to ensure payments to farmers.

The new CAP will have to be aligned with the goals of the Green Deal and the Farm to Fork strategy to be presented by the Commission  by April or May at the latest.

For more on cooperation projects between farmers and the water sector, read our briefing nore here.

Pesticides: EU Parliament calls for use reduction

On 15 January, the European Parliament adopted a non-binding resolution relating to the EU’s Green Deal and covering food waste and pesticide use. MEPs want to tackle ‘pesticide dependency’ and “significantly reduce the use and risk of chemical pesticides”. However, the Parliament fell short of setting reduction targets, as supported by the Greens.

Pharmaceuticals in the Environment: European Parliament Motion for Resolution

The ENVI Committee of the European Parliament is drafting a motion for resolution on the issue of Pharmaceuticals in the Environment, following the publication of the Commission strategic approach in March 2019. The deadline for amendments was 29 January.

OECD launches eChemPortal: A one-stop source for information on chemicals

eChemPortal brings you global information on chemicals, pesticides and biocides to support health and environmental decision making. It features over 800,000 substance records from 34 databases from authorities and international organisations.

Out and about + communications news

Bertrand and Caroline from the Secretariat visited Irish Water in advance of the EU2 meeting in Dublin. Thank you to Tom and the team for the welcome and the discussions on projects, leakages and communicating.


Irish Water told us of a documentary they made telling the story of water.


Oliver Loebel is in this months iAgua magazine speaking about Europe’s water legislation. You can read it here (in Spanish).


News from members

All change in Bulgaria

UWSSORB has joined EurEau, replacing BWA in the association. UWSSORB represents the Union of Waste Water Operators in the Republic of Bulgaria. The website is here (under construction).

The Union is a voluntary non-profit association of water and sewerage operators and employers, supplying water as well as sewerage, drinking and waste water treatment services. There are currently 34 members, including all state-owned operators, most municipal operators  and Sofiyska Voda AD, part of the Veolia Group.

FP2E publications on the French water sector

The French EurEau member FP2E published a new report providing detailed information on the French water services sector. It is entitled «Les service publics d’eau et d’assainissement en France – Données économiques, sociales & environnementales » and can be downloaded from the EurEau website.

Swedish Phosphorus Inquiry

The Inquiry proposes a ban on the spread of sewage sludge with the exception of the spreading of good quality sludge on agricultural land. Svenskt Vatten welcomes this proposal and commends the inquiry for a well thought-out inquiry.

Recycling of organic matter, phosphorus and other nutrients from sewage sludge is a key issue in a circular economy. The proposal means that good quality sewage sludge can continue to be used on agricultural land, but that other sludge can no longer be used for land reclamation, which is today the most common sludge use.

Read the inquiry here (English Summary page 31-43).

Sound filtration

Using sound waves to filter plastic fibres from washing machines???… read on!


13 – 14 February 2020 - Marche-en-Famenne, Belgium. AQUAWAL and her partners will be at the ‘water Village’ as part of the Municipalia Salon. AQUAWAL, la CILE, in BW, INASEP, SWDE, SPGE and VIVAQUA invite EurEau members to visit!

You can get more information from Fanny Merenne, (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and at http://www.municipalia.be/.

4 – 5 March 2020 - European FOG (fat, oil, grease) Summit – Amsterdam, Netherlands. All information regarding the programme and confirmed speakers is available at https://www.swiftcomply.com/fogsummit2020/

9-10 March 2020 - Urban Resilience in a context of Climate Change (URCC) Conference, organised in the framework of the RESCCUE project, will take place in Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site, in Barcelona Spain. You can find all the information here.

1-3 April 2020 – Lisbon, Portugal. Urban Future Global Conference. One of the themes is water. If you would like to speak at the event, contact the organisers and propose a topic. More

27-30 April 2020 - The International Water Association is co-organising the first IWA Digital Water Summit together with the Consorcio de Aguas Bilbao Bizkaia (regional water utility) and AEAS (Spanish Water Association of Water Supply and Sanitation), which will take place in Bilbao, Spain.

Targeting all stakeholders involved in the water sector digitalization, it is designed to bring together water technology providers and water utilities, with a focus on sharing experiences, solutions and content, while creating networking opportunities for those attending.  https://digitalwatersummit.org/

15-16 June 2020 - European Sustainable Phosphorus Conference, Vienna, Austria. The call for abstracts for presentations for the six parallel sessions is open. More…

3 July 2020 – Lisbon, Portugal. OSPAR Ministerial Meeting.

17-18 November 2020 - 3rd Water JPI Conference from in Mulheim an der Ruhr.

25-28 May 2021 – CEOCOR; hosted by ÖVGW in Vienna, Austria.


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