To update and adapt standards and requirements for the collection, treatment, and discharge of urban wastewater to the local reality and global context, taking into account the latest technological advances.
To protect the environment and human health by ensuring that wastewater is adequately treated before being released into the environment, and to involve local and regional authorities in the treatment and management of wastewater.
To ensure coherence among EU water legislation, as well as synergies and alignment with the European Green Deal policies.
To support the extended producer responsibility as an incentive to develop more environmentally friendly products.
To highlight that a certain degree of flexibility, realistic timeframes, control at source, and acknowledgement of the different conditions across regions are cities are crucial to ensure the success of the Directive
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
welcomes the European Commission's recast proposal for an Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive (UWWTD) as there is a need to adapt the legislation to today's challenges and technical possibilities; highlights that the revision should aim for consistent synergies with the Green Deal, and in particular the EU Action Plan: "Towards a Zero Pollution for Air, Water and Soil";
emphasises that the framework needs to be risk-based, goal-oriented and flexible enough to account for local and regional differences within and among Member States. The one-size-fits-all approach could lead to disproportionate costs in relation to environmental benefits achieved, particularly in relation to the requirements on nitrogen removal;
supports the introduction of the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme, as a necessary precondition to ensure affordability of water services as well as a socially fair financing instrument to address the treatment of micropollutants in wastewater;
urges the Commission to ensure coherence among all EU water legislation. To make the Directive future-proof, an exemption from the non-deterioration ban should be provided where technical treatment measures cannot further compensate for a growing population in regions or cities;
believes that clear, ambitious and realistic timeframes are a central component for a successful implementation of the UWWTD; considers that an extension of the proposed deadlines would enable its efficiency as well as coordination with other legislation;
is of the opinion that individual systems are an adequate solution for the treatment of wastewater in isolated and sparsely populated areas and in the outermost regions; underlines that collection of wastewater in these areas is costly and inefficient and does not necessarily provide better environmental benefits and, for such cases, calls for decentralised solutions with adequately functioning individual systems, to be regulated within the Member States or at the regional level.