EurEau newsletter - edition 57 - April 2021
EurEau recommendations on the UWWTD
We published a statement on our expectations for the UWWTD. You can read it here.
EurEau will elect its next President, Committee Chairs and Executive Committee (ExCom) members at the General Assembly of 27-28 May 2021 (elections on 28 May 2021).
Carla Chiaretti from the EurEau Secretariat spoke at the Water Ireland Conference, highlighting the key challenges for our sector. The meeting was held on 22-23 April.
Bertrand Vallet from EurEau and Anders Finnson spoke at a workshop organised by the European Commission (20-21 April) on ‘Waste water and sludge: how to integrate in the circular economy and support new energy and climate ambitions?’
UWWTD – statement
We published a statement on our expectations for the UWWTD. You can read it here. The Directive concerns the collection, treatment and discharge of urban waste water and the treatment and discharge of waste water from certain industrial sectors.
DG Envi of the European Commission held two workshops (23-24 March and 20-21 April) with Member States and stakeholders on the policy options under the UWWTD.
An additional workshop is planned for 4 May on cost-benefits in the framework of the impact assessment of the UWWTD.
Sewage Sludge Directive: extension on use prevailing
The Sewage Sludge Directive is under evaluation. There seems to be an intention to extend the uses of sludge on land, while nutrient recovery would be covered in the UWWTD. The issue of pollutants and microplastics as well as GHG emissions in sludge was dealt with.
Bathing Water Directive: response sent on Roadmap
We sent our response to the Roadmap on the evaluation and the impact assessment on 1 April. We maintain that the definition of “bathing site” needs strengthening, while the data quality control could be improved.
EurEau supports the WHO recommendations and calls on the Commission to implement them in the revised BWD. The BWD requires Member States to monitor and assess bathing water for at least two parameters of (faecal) bacteria. They must inform the public about bathing water quality and beach management.
Water and agriculture
Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive: answer submitted
We submitted our answer to the public consultation, including the recommendations with policy options for the new directive.
The Directive aims to protect human health and the environment from the possible risks and impacts of pesticides. This initiative reviews options for further reducing pesticide use to help meet the goals of the Farm to Fork Strategy and the Green Deal.
Water and the environment
Single Use Plastic Directive: Commission guidance pending
The SUP Directive introduces restrictions and EPR schemes for a number of plastic products including wet wipes. The Commission guidance on what a plastic product is and how the cost of cleaning up litter is still to be worked out, as well the secondary legislation on the labelling of certain products. Pressure from manufacturers is said to be behind the delay.
Pharmaceutical legislation: review launched
The European Commission initiated the review of the legislative framework on pharmaceuticals with the publication of the Roadmap. The legal framework for human medicines sets standards to ensure a high level of public health protection and the quality, safety and efficacy of medicines.
We submitted feedback to the Roadmap. EurEau supports this initiative as it explicitly aims to tackle the environmental impact of pharmaceuticals.
PFAS: ban on non-essential use becomes more urgent
Is the Polluter Pays Principle replaced by the Water Consumer Pays Principle? A Swedish court case on PFAS made the headlines this month as a local drinking water utility was condemned to pay damages because of the contamination of drinking water from PFAS released by military facilities. The water utility will appeal the decision.
Mercury Regulation: feedback submitted
The feedback to the Roadmap was submitted in early April. The legislative proposal is scheduled for adoption in Q4.
The Regulation deals with the phase-out the largest remaining intentional use of mercury in the EU, dental amalgam, before 2030.
Gas and hydrogen market de-carbonisation package
The Commission launched a public consultation on the review of the Hydrogen and Gas Market on 26 March. It will revise EU gas rules to facilitate the entry onto the market of renewable and low-carbon gases and remove any undue regulatory barriers.
For EurEau, this is an opportunity to ensure that:
- refined biogas (bio methane) from WWTP can be injected in natural gas networks without obstacles
- the UWWTP can be connected to the hydrogen economy, should suitable technologies become available.
WW operators should also be aware of the establishment of a system for the certification of WWTP bio methane and the bio methane quality standardisation for grid injection.
The objective of the package is to promote renewable and low-carbon gases to decarbonise industry, increase flexibility of the power system and allow to store and produce again electricity. Next to renewable hydrogen, other forms of low-carbon hydrogen can play a role, primarily to rapidly reduce emissions from existing hydrogen production and support the parallel and future uptake of renewable hydrogen.
Water as an essential service
INSPIRE Directive: public consultation launched
The INSPIRE Directive created an online portal to enable geospatial data on the environment to be shared among public authorities in Europe. This includes common standards for collecting data on e.g. groundwater, transport networks, land use, air temperatures.
The next step in the review process has been launched with the public consultation.
Resilience of Critical Entities Directive: Parliament and Council discussions ongoing
The RCE Directive will set requirements for critical entities, including water operators to increase their resilience against man-made and natural disasters.
The European co-legislators are currently working on their respective positions.
NIS Directive: Parliament and Council discussions ongoing
The NIS Directive is closely linked with the RCE Directive and sets a range of network and information security requirements that apply to operators of essential services (including DW and WW operators) and digital service providers.
As in the case of the RCE Directive, Council and Parliament are currently defining their amendments.
Zero Pollution Action Plan
The Commission plans to adopt the Zero Pollution Action Plan on 18 May. The EurEau recommendations are available on our website and were shared with DG Envi.
Green Week will have Zero Pollution as the main topic and EurEau will take part in several events (Commission’s and partners’).
Intends to achieve no pollution from “all sources”, cleaning the air, water and soil by 2050.
The reaction of the EU Parliament to the Commission’s Farm2 Fork Strategy is taking shape. The two responsible Committees (AGRI, ENVI) are currently drafting compromise amendments. The vote in Plenary is set for June.
This Strategy aims to make food systems fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly.
Soil Strategy: Parliament adopts resolution
The European Parliament’s ENVI Committee approved an ambitious resolution to increase the protection of Europe’s soils. EurEau welcomes this resolution which promotes the protection of drinking water resources and recognises the added value of applying bio-solids on farmland.
The resolution aims to influence the Commission’s Soil Strategy which is currently under development. Part of the EU 2030 biodiversity strategy, this initiative will update the current strategy to address soil degradation and preserve land resources.
Climate and Health observatory
The EEA and the Commission established a climate and health observatory. This new structure wants to link the impact of climate change to the impact on the health of citizens.
German brochure on pesticides and water
The German water sector together with the Agricultural Industry Association and pesticides associations published a brochure on ‘Securing the future together’.
The European Parliament gave its final approval on the Horizon Europe Regulation. The 2021-2027 R&I programme will focus on digital-related research and digitalisation, with the EU’s highest ever budget allocation for it. The research programme relates to global challenges including the fight against climate change, digitalisation, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Horizon Europe will prepare the EU for the future by supporting its health systems, its industry to decarbonise and its businesses to innovate.
4 May 2021 - UVCW and AQUAWAL will host a webinar (13.30-15.3h) in collaboration with SPGE on CertiBEau. The programme and registration is here. Note this webinar is in French.
17-20 May 2021 – LuWQ2021, 5th International Interdisciplinary Conference on Land use and water quality: Agriculture and the Environment. More.
2 June - Greet de Gueldre will give the keynote address at EU Urban Water Management and Governance – challenges of implementation session hosted by the city of Gothenburg. Anders Finnson will moderate the session on behalf of Svenskt Vatten. This events begins at 14.30.
3 June - Carla will speak as part of the event on Water legislation on the ground – flowing freely or clear as mud? hosted by DG ENVI. This events starts at 15.30h.
Also on 3 June, Claudia will be a speaker for the German Environment Agency at the Including Biocides in the Sustainable Use Directive event from 14-16h.
On 7 June (14-15.30h), Carla will join Eurocities and ECMR to discuss the holistic approach to pharmaceuticals and microplastics.
2022 – CEOCOR; hosted by ÖVGW in Vienna, Austria. (postponed from 2021).
Postponed to June 2022 - from August 2021 - Water Safety Conference in Narvik, Norway. More.
11-15 September 2022 - IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition; Water for smart liveable cities in Copenhagen, Denmark.