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|European Union directive|
|Title||Urban Waste Water Directive|
|Made by||European Council|
|Made under||Article 130 S|
|Journal reference||L 135 , 30 May 1991 P. 40 – 52|
|Date made||21 May 1991|
The Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive is a 1991 European Union directive concerning urban waste water "collection, treatment and discharge of urban waste water and the treatment and discharge of waste water from certain industrial sectors". It aims "to protect the environment from adverse effects of waste water discharges from cities and "certain industrial sectors".
It prescribes the waste water collection and treatment in urban agglomerations with a population equivalent of over 2000, and more advanced treatment in places with a population equivalent greater than 10,000 in "sensitive areas".
The Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (full title Council Directive 91/271/EEC of 21 May 1991 concerning urban waste-water treatment) is a European Union directive regarding urban waste water collection, waste water treatment and its discharge, as well as the treatment and discharge of "waste water from certain industrial sectors". It was adopted on 21 May 1991. It aims "to protect the environment from the adverse effects of urban waste water discharges and discharges from certain industrial sectors" by mandating waste water collection and treatment in urban agglomerations with a population equivalent of over 2000, and more advanced treatment in places with a population equivalent above 10,000 in sensitive areas.
The directive defines sensitive areas, as "freshwater bodies, estuaries and coastal waters which are eutrophic or which may become eutrophic if protective action is not taken", "surface freshwaters intended for the abstraction of drinking water which contain or are likely to contain more than 50 mg/l of nitrates", areas where further treatment is necessary to comply with other directives, such as the directives on fish waters, on bathing waters, on shellfish waters, on the conservation of wild birds and natural habitats, etc.
member states were required to make waste water treatment facilities available
In a 2004 Commission report on implementation by the member states, the Commission noted that some member states, in particular France and Spain, had been tardy in providing the required information, and infringement procedures had been initiated. The report mentioned Spain's non-provision of any advanced treatment in the catchment areas of rivers identified as sensitive in their downstream section, such as the Ebro and the Guadalquivir; Italy's implementation in the catchment area of the Po River, the delta and adjacent coastal waters; and the United Kingdom's interpretation and implementation of the directive in regard to the catchment areas of sensitive areas. Most member states planned to achieve conformity with the Directive by 2005 or 2008 at the latest.
The Urban Waste Water Directive marked a shift from legislation aimed at end-use standards to stricter legislation aimed at regulating water quality at the source. The directive applied both to domestic waste water and to waste water from industrial sectors, both of which account for much of the pollution. The Directive is an example of the detailed nature of European Union legislation and resulted in "significant costs in many member states".
Nine years after the directive was adopted, considerable variations remained in the provision of sewage treatment in the different member states.