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Primary objective is to immediately eliminate incompliances with the Urban Wastewater Directive

2017-06-02

Yesterday a delegation of the Ministry of Environment met in Brussels with representatives of the European Commission (EC) to discuss the infringement procedure initiated against Lithuania for poor implementation of the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive and presented a remedial action plan developed by the Ministry.

The EC considers violation of the Directive the fact that wastewater in the Kėdainiai agglomeration is not treated up to established requirements. In addition, Lithuania has not ensured that in 58 agglomerations (Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda, Šiauliai, Panevėžys, Alytus, Marijampolė, Utena, etc.) not less than 98% of wastewater is centrally treated and only not more than 2% is treated by individual wastewater treatment systems.

“We hope that we manage to implement all the requirements of the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive within the deadlines set in the remedial action plan and the infringement procedure would be cancelled. This is a primary objective for the country’s aquaculture sector,” says the Ministry’s delegation leader, Vice-Minister Mindaugas Gudas. “Yesterday representatives of the EC favourably evaluated the efforts by Lithuania, however they emphasized that the actions should be taken immediately, implemented within the deadlines set in the plan, and constantly reported of their implementation progress.”

In the course of implementation of the action plan presented to the EC, the Ministry of Environment is currently developing amendments to the Law on Drinking Water Supply and Wastewater Management. They should establish legal prerequisites to ensure that all agglomeration territories with population above two thousand residents have centralised wastewater collection systems and that by 2023 at latest not less than 98% of residents of these agglomerations be connected to the centralised systems.

Water supply companies that have received EU support and undertaken the obligation to connect residents to the drinking water and wastewater management infrastructure must take active measures urging the residents to join. In addition, in accordance with the action plan reconstruction of the Kėdainiai wastewater treatment plant will be started shortly so that wastewater of the Kėdainiai agglomeration would get treatment as per established requirements.

Till 2019 a register of individual wastewater treatment is expected to be developed in this country that would contain information on location of wastewater treatment facilities, equipment used, and actions taken. The register will help monitor more efficiently management of individual wastewater systems.

According to Mindaugas Gudas, all of us – including municipal institutions, water supply companies, and the residents – must act together fast within deadlines agreed with the EC in order to avoid serious trouble. If the actions set in the plan are implemented timely, not only the EC initiated infringement procedure would be cancelled and waste-related water pollution would be reduced in this country but also more people would have access to the drinking water supply and wastewater treatment services.

Communication Department
2017-06-02


Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas
Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas