EurEau newsletter - June 2022
EurEau comments on the EU’s Textile Strategy
A robust EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles can put in place legislation that will protect our water resources and promote a truly circular economy; a lasting legacy of Europe’s Zero Pollution ambition.
EurEau welcomes the publication of the Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles. Our sector is keen to transform urban waste water treatment plants (UWWTP) into resource factories. This can only be achieved when hazardous substances and microplastics are avoided at the sources and, hence, do not arrive at the treatment plant.
Read our comments on the Strategy here.
EurEau call for a European commitment to better reuse resources and energy from waste water
The current geopolitical situation and the objective to transition to a climate-neutral society by 2050, make it urgent to reuse the renewable and continuous supply of resources and energy which pass through our waste water systems. Waste water contains many valuable resources, most notably nutrients for fertilisers (nitrogen and phosphorus) water, and energy. These can be recovered and reused to create a truly circular economy.
Read our full statement here.
Oliver Loebel, EurEau Secretary General, spoke at the UNECE regional workshop on equitable access to water and sanitation ‘New policy developments, impacts of COVID-19, and options to ensure affordability’ on 13-14 June 2022.
Oliver travelled to the IWA Water Safety Conference in Narvik, Norway to jointly moderate with the WHO the session on ‘Risk Based Approaches in Drinking Water Regulation’ (22-24 June).
The final meeting in a series of workshops organised by the OECD and DG ENV of the European Commission on the economics of the WFD, took place on 23 June. Gari Villa Landa Soklova, the co-Chairperson of the EurEau Committee on Economic and Legal Affairs spoke on behalf of EurEau on cost recovery, water pricing and the Polluter Pays Principle.
Looking ahead, Carsten Schmidt will represent EurEau at the Intergroup on Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development Hybrid Event on the newly adopted proposal for a Regulation on the Sustainable Use of Plant Protection Products, co-organised by MEP Bijoux and MEP Tolleret on 13 July from 9.30 to 11.30. Read more and register here.
Dr Claudia Castell-Exner, EurEau President, will represent us at the IWA utility leaders’ forum, 13 September 2022, as part of the IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition. The theme of the session is ‘Integrated Urban Water Management and the New Societal Role of Utilities in Creating Communities of the Future’.
Water and agriculture
Proposal for a Regulation on the Sustainable Use of Plant Protection Products
The European Commission adopted a legislative proposal on the Sustainable Use of Plant Protection Products.
The proposal is a very positive step towards the implementation of the ambition of the Farm2Fork Strategy of the Green Deal, since it contains binding targets for the reduction and the use of pesticides. Water bodies used for the abstraction of drinking water fall under the definition of “sensitive areas” where the use of all pesticides is banned. You can read our press release here.
You can find the Regulation here and the Annexes here.
Carsten Schmidt will represent us at the Intergroup meeting on pesticides organised by MEP Tolleret and MEP Bijoux on 13 July. You can register here.
The Regulation will introduce EU wide targets to reduce the use and risk of chemical pesticides by 50% by 2030, in line with the EU’s Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies.
SAIO Regulation: Mixed results as Trilogue ends
The European Parliament and the Council reached a provisional agreement in the Trilogue negotiations on the Statistics for Agricultural Input and Output (SAIO) Regulation. Parliament obtained a number of import concessions from Member States.
Under the provisional agreement, Member States will have to collect harmonised data on the use of pesticides, organic farming and fertilisers, and on the use of antimicrobials. Furthermore, data on pesticides will include active substances placed on the market and used in agricultural activities by crop and area treated. It was also agreed that data must be disseminated annually. It is however disappointing that the first set of data will only be collected in 2026 and disseminated in 2028, with annual data collection starting in 2028 (dissemination in 2030).
The agreed SAIO Regulation is however unlikely to provide the data needed for risk management under the Drinking Water Directive. More…
The SAIO initiative updates the rules on compiling statistics for EU farming, including the organic sector.
EurEau joins EU Advisory Group on Sustainability of Food Systems
EurEau’s Oliver Loebel was selected to sit on this advisory group set up by DG SANTE of the European Commission in order to accompany the Commission’s work on legislative measures to make Europe’s food systems more sustainable.
Water and the environment
IED: EurEau position in the pipeline
The European Commission published the draft revised Industrial Emissions Directive in April. We see a lot of proposed improvements to control industrial emissions to water sources as well as better access for water operators to information. However, we also see some key issues that could pose a threat for protecting these same water sources. We are developing a position paper to clarify our concerns for policy makers.
In the parliament, things are progressing, with the nomination of Radan Kanev (EPP) as rapporteur in the ENVI (lead) committee.
Bertrand Vallet (EurEau) attended an event organised by the Dutch Permanent Representation where rapporteur Kanev expressed his will to work towards achieving both climate neutrality and zero pollution, even if these two objectives are contradictory according to him. However, the IED is the right place to discuss this and even if it seems difficult to reach both objectives, the rapporteur believes it has to be the goal.
The IED aims to achieve a high level of protection of human health and the environment taken as a whole by reducing harmful industrial emissions across the EU, in particular through better application of Best Available Techniques (BAT).
Regulation: Safe and Sustainable by Design (SSbD) chemicals
The SSbD is a Regulation that is part of the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability and is voluntary.
We participated in the 15 June workshop ‘Towards a chemical policy framework that fosters sustainable and innovative solutions’ focused on SSbD and the challenges this poses to innovation. The European Commission’ present the development of SSbD framework and criteria (proposal expected by Q4). The first step of the assessment will be a hazard assessment because this is critical to allow circularity and the recycling of materials.
Energy files: Parliament votes the ETS
The European Parliament voted in plenary the inclusion of municipal waste incineration by 1 January 2026, after an impact assessment. The ETS (Emission Trading System) would include municipal waste incineration installations. We are working with MEPS to ensure that whenever sewage sludge is managed together with municipal waste, the sludge will not be covered by the ETS.
Sewage sludge is not considered municipal waste by the Waste Framework Directive and sewage sludge mono-incineration is therefore not included in the ETS.
The EU ETS is a cornerstone of the EU's policy to combat climate change and its key tool for reducing greenhouse gas emissions cost-effectively.
Taxonomy: reports and actions
The Taxonomy report by the Sustainable Finance Platform on the ‘Enabling activities’ (like desalination) and relative TSCs that was due to be published in May is now expected to be published between July and September
Restriction on Hazardous Substances (RoHS): water sector demands investment security for UV lamps for disinfection
EurEau submitted feedback to the RoHS revision consultation. We requested the exclusion from the scope of the Directive for our applications of mercury-containing UV lamps for disinfection and treatment of drinking water and waste water. Supporting this request, we submitted a technical document assessing that UV lamps are part of water treatment works or waste water treatment plants, and must be classified as ‘large scale fixed installations’, which is one of the requirements for the exclusion.
The RoHS Directive aims to prevent the risks posed to human health and the environment related to the management of electronic and electrical waste. It does this by restricting the use of certain hazardous substances in EEE that can be substituted by safer alternatives. We support the Directive as it provides protection for water resources.
Europe’s bathing waters continue to meet rigorous standards
The annual EEA Bathing Water report, published 3 June, shows that almost 85% of Europe’s bathing water sites met the highest standards in 2021, reassuring bathers where they can find the best – and most safe – bathing sites across Europe.
UNECE guides on equitable access to water and sanitation
The UNECE had published several guides and tools to better understand, assess and address the challenges to ensure equitable access to water and sanitation. You can find them here.
European Sustainable Phosphorus Conference 4 – Vienna
The Belgian general strike did not allow Bertrand Vallet (EurEau) to attend the ESPC4 in Vienna in person and so to chair the first parallel session on “Nutrient recovery operating experience technology showcase”. However, the conference allowed a good overview of the situation of phosphorus recovery in Europe. Still, a lot of questions remain on the access to the market for recovered resources despite the evolving regulatory framework in certain European countries. We need the industry to recycle recovered phosphorus and we recently published a call for a European commitment to better reuse resources and energy from waste water. We hope that the industry and other stakeholders can answer this call to make Europe more resilient.
Greenwashing: EU deal on corporate sustainability reporting requirements agreed
From 2024, large companies will no longer be able to engage in ‘greenwashing’ – the exaggerating of environmentally-friendly claims. Consumers will benefit from increased transparency on the impact of businesses on human rights and the environment.
Under the new rules, companies with over 250 staff and turnover of €40 million will have to disclose environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks and opportunities, and the impact of their activities on the environment and people.
WAREG: Call for proposals
WAREG has opened a call for proposals on the topic of "In the context of increasing energy prices: a comparative assessment of the energy costs recovery in the tariff’s methodologies in the water sector across European countries."
News from our members
Belgian campaign raising awareness on sewers
Contrats de Rivière de Wallonie and the SPGE launched their annual awareness-raising campaign (1-15 June) aimed at alerting people to not dispose of waste in drains. The campaign is transmitted on radio, television and social media. Read more about ‘Ici commence la mer’ (in French) here.
Belgium – water report on Thursday
The Belgian TV station, RTBF, is renewing its ‘Water Report’ as part of the Thursday weather forecast. Began in 2021, it details the state of water resources in Wallonia and Brussels at that moment in time. The goal is to inform citizens if they need to conserve water or if there are disruptions in services foreseen. More (in French) …
The Wallonian water companies also issued a press release on drought in the region, looking at maintaining a certain level in domestic rain cisterns.
Sweden - Outlook 2050
Our Swedish colleagues have developed two informative aminations on the importance of looking after our water future now. You can watch the longer version (2.5mins) here or the shorter version (1min) here.
23 August – 1 September 2022 – SIWI World Water Week, Stockholm, Sweden. Registration is now open and the programme is updated. 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.
22-27 September 2022 – sixth conference on the Environmental Dimension of Antibiotic Resistance (EDAR6); Gothenburg, Sweden. More…
26-29 September 2022 – 20th Europe-INBO International Conference; Annecy, France More…
27-28 October 2022 - Management of water and sewerage infrastructure in the context of resource reduction and depletion; Bucharest, Romania. More…
28-30 November 2022 - International Conference on Ozone and Advance Oxidation. Science, Technologies and applications for a better world; Toulouse, France. More…