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EurEau newsletter - February 2022

Water legislation

UWWTD: policy options + Czech Presidency

The Czech Presidency confirmed that they will have the file in their work programme in Autumn 2022 since the Commission will adopt the proposal in July.

The Directive concerns the collection, treatment and discharge of urban waste water and the treatment and discharge of waste water from certain industrial sectors.


Water Reuse Regulation

The Ad-hoc task group on water reuse regulation met on 18 February to present the last version of the Commission guidance on the application of Regulation 2020/741 on minimum requirements for water reuse. This guidance targets Member States.

The Reuse Regulation sets out minimum requirements for water reuse for agricultural irrigation. 


Water and agriculture

Sustainable Use of Pesticides: proposal imminent 

The European Commission is finalising the legislative proposal on the Sustainable Use of Pesticides to be adopted on 23 March.

EU rules on the sustainable use of pesticides aim to protect human health and the environment from the possible risks and impacts of pesticides.


Healthy Soils Law

The call for evidence on the healthy soils law is open. We will submit feedback (deadline: 16 March) will circulate a draft in the coming days.

The Soil Health Law aims to significantly improve the state of soils by 2050 and to protect soils on the same legal basis as air and water.


Water and the environment

EQSD and GWD: 2nd stakeholder workshop

The Commission will hold the 2nd stakeholder workshop on 18 March, to inform the impact assessment of the EQSD GWD pollutants.

The Environmental Quality Standards Directive (EQSD) identifies 'priority substances', for which standards have to be fulfilled in surface waters and whose emissions have to be reduced or (in the case of priority hazardous substances) phased out. The Groundwater Directive (GWD) sets standards for pesticides and nitrates in groundwater, and identifies other substances for Member States to consider setting thresholds.


OECD and DG ENV: workshops on WFD implementation

The first of a series of workshops targeting the improvement of the WFD implementation was held at the end of February and dealt with financing water investments.  


Biodegradable plastics: Commission consultation

This forthcoming EU initiative aims to set a framework for bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics by providing definitions, test methods and assessing applications that lead to genuine environmental benefits. Consumers should be offered clear and trustworthy options.

The Commission has launched a survey on this subject. We are currently consulting members to finalise our feedback before 15 March. 


Unintentionally Released Plastics: Commission consults on future regulation

In Q4 2022, the Commission will propose a Regulation on unintentionally released microplastics potentially addressing labelling, standardisation, certification and regulatory measures for the main sources.

Although treated waste water is only a minor pathway to the environment and microplastics removal efficiencies are far above 90%, microplastics in sewage sludge limit the sector’s circular economy options, the Commission is still proposing extra treatment as one of the options.

EurEau will react to the public consultation which will run until 17 May.


Mercury Regulation

The Mercury Regulation is being revised and a legislative proposal is expected for Q4 2022.

The Targeted Stakeholders consultation deadline is 25 February. We submitted an answer.

The Commission launched a public consultation with deadline 3 May.

We are in favour of a ban on dental amalgam. We believe that UV lamps used in the disinfection processes should be exempt however, under the RoHS Directive.   

This Regulation focuses on further restricting the remaining uses of mercury in the EU, especially in dental amalgam and certain other mercury-added products, such as light bulbs and measuring devices, and their international trade. 



We are preparing our response to the public consultation on REACH with a deadline of 15 April.


EED and RED: time and place 

We met with MEPs to highlight our concern over WWTPs being included in the Energy Efficiency Directive. We firmly believe that the energy efficiency of WWTPs should be covered by the UWWTD.

The draft report on the RED from Marcus Pieper is published but the RED does not address water operators directly.      

The new Renewable Energy Directive (RED) proposes rules for the EU to achieve a 40% renewables target by 2030 while the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) calls for energy savings for the public sector and energy audits with the goal of reducing GHG emissions by 55% and contributing to other Green Deal initiatives.


Ecodesign Directive: feedback submitted

We submitted feedback on the roadmap on the Ecodesign Directive concerning water pumps. The current directive already helped to improve the energy consumption of pumps currently used by operators a lot. Our goal is to help operators improve their energy consumption and not force them to change their pumps. We will also work to guarantee the energy efficiency of the entire pump system in place over its individual elements.

The Directive provides consistent EU-wide rules for improving the environmental performance of products, such as household appliances, information and communication technologies or engineering. It sets out minimum mandatory requirements for the energy efficiency of these products. 


Waste Framework Directive: feedback submitted

We submitted our feedback to the call for evidence on the Waste FD, insisting on the end of waste criteria for waste from WW streams.

The Waste Framework Directive is concerned with measures to protect the environment and human health by preventing or reducing the adverse impacts of the generation and management of waste and by reducing overall impacts of resource use and improving the efficiency of such use.


Water as an essential service

Resilience of critical infrastructureNISD and CERD

The European Parliament and the Council continue direct discussions (Trilogue) to finalise the directives on measures for a high common level of cybersecurity across the Union (NIS2) and the Critical entities Resilience (CER) Directive. EurEau contributed with Trilogue recommendations emphasising the need for a risk-based approach and ensuring the proportionality of measures, particularly for small operators.

The draft revised NIS Directive aims to achieve a high level of security of network and information systems across the EU while the CER Directive aims to strengthen the capacity of critical entities to resist and recover from malicious acts or natural disasters. The drinking and waste water sectors will be covered in the scope of the two directives.


Other news

Covenant of Companies

The European Commission (DG ENER) has just started a pilot project on how to best support companies and in particular SMEs towards their clean energy transition and climate action – called the ‘Covenant of Companies for Climate and Energy’ (CCCE).

The Initiative is intended to encourage and support EU companies – primarily but not limited to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – towards a clean energy transition and taking climate action.

This support could include assistance with energy audits, investment support, facilitating business-to-business exchanges, business-to-city contacts, etc.

A survey was launched to collect input and advice on:

  • What do companies and SMEs specifically need most when it comes to taking further steps in their clean energy transition and climate action?
  • How can the future Covenant of Companies for Climate and Energy provide the best support based on those specific needs?
  • What would make companies and SMEs specifically want to join this initiative?

The link to the survey is here

The deadline to fill in the survey is 11 March 2022 at 18:00 CET.

Send your questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



2 March 2022 - The rising cost of inaction: How the energy crisis impacts the water service sector in the Danube region. More.

4 March 2022 - PERFORCE3 Webinar. More.

22 March 2022 – Groundwater: from source to consumer: challenges, solutions and perspectives. More here.

7 April 2022 – Water Safety Planning: tools for development and implementation webinar. More.

20-22 June 2022 - 4th European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform, Vienna & hybrid 

22-24 June 2022 - Water Safety Conference in Narvik, Norway. More.

23 August – 1 September 2022 – World water Week, Stockholm, Sweden. More

11-15 September 2022 - IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition; Water for smart liveable cities in Copenhagen, Denmark. The Call for Content is open and you can read more here.

12-15 September 2022 - LuWQ2022, 5th International Interdisciplinary Conference on Land use and water quality: Agriculture and the Environment; Maastricht, The Netherlands.

UWWTD, water, europe

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