A Dilution of EPR in Europe’s Water Future

Plenary vote on the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive sets a difficult course for Europe’s water future as MEPS choose to significantly dilute Extended Producer Responsibility
A Dilution of EPR in Europe’s Water Future

Wastewater purification plant (Image source: EurEau)

Europe’s drinking water and wastewater service providers hold concerns for the affordability of Europe’s water treatment for consumers in the wake of October’s plenary vote on the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive.

EurEau campaigns for robust financial responsibility for those manufacturers and industry such as pharmaceuticals, and the agricultural sector, whose products can leech into water resources including rivers and lakes that are used as drinking water sources. If these contaminants cannot be kept out of our water cycle through effective control at source measures, then the costs of removing them should be paid by those polluters instead of water service providers.

“The Parliament really missed the opportunity to support the original ambitious EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) and the Polluter Pays Principle” said Pär Dalhielm, EurEau President.

“The ambition of EPR and the implementation of the Polluter Pays Principle have been watered down by including a co-financing model for the costs of quaternary treatment for removal of micro-pollutants, which will lead to an increase in the water tariffs for water consumers across Europe. Water services (including drinking and wastewater) are essential and critical services, as well as a human right, and their affordability for everyone must be ensured” he continued.

The vote in the Parliament on October 5, 2023 was crucial because the urgent investment necessary in the sector to maintain our excellent water quality and quantity for everyone needs a responsible financing system and effective control at source.

On the other hand, we welcome the acknowledgement by the Members of the European Parliament of the challenges and the reality of the wastewater sector regarding energy neutrality.

EurEau will continue to work with the EU institutions and other stakeholders to protect human health and the environment.

Source: EurEau

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