European Parliament and Council (Member States) positions on UWWTD revision both maintain defining minimum reuse & recycling rates for phosphorus (art. 20), but Council proposes to delete reuse & recycling of nitrogen. Both support amendments to widen reuse & recycling to include from wastewater and not only from sludge (amendment proposed by ESPP). Positions differ on the timeline for defining reuse & recycling targets, with Parliament wishing to accelerate this. Parliament proposes to support development of a functional market for recovered nutrients but this is not proposed by Council. Both propose to include N2O in greenhouse emissions reductions, which is important as this is one of the most important climate impacts from wastewater treatment. Positions differ on extent of tightening of P and N emissions limits and removal obligations from sewage, and on proposed implementation deadlines for these, with Parliament’s position in many cases even more demanding than the initial Commission proposed revision text, and Council less demanding. Discussions to finalise the UWWTD revision now go to “trilogue” (negotiation between the European Parliament and Council representatives, with participation of the European Commission) with the aim to agree a compromise text to be adopted by both Parliament and Council before next year’s European Parliament elections (6-9 June 2024, followed by the designation of a new European Commission). ESPP has written to Member States and European Parliament rapporteurs suggesting that nitrogen reuse & recycling should not be abandoned in the current nitrogen fertiliser supply and price crisis context (related to gas supplies and the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine). ESPP proposes as a compromise to specify assessment by the Commission of feasibility and cost/benefits for nitrogen recovery.
European Commission initial proposed text for the UWWTD revision: https://environment.ec.europa.eu/publications/proposal-revised-urban-wastewater-treatment-directive_en
Parliament voted position: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-9-2023-0355_EN.pdf
Council position: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CONSIL:ST_14271_2023_INIT
ESPP letter to Parliament and Council for trilogue: www.phosphorusplatform.eu/regulatory