Xylem urges European Commission to go further on revised Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive

Xylem has welcomed the European Commission’s recent efforts to advance the European wastewater treatment sector, but has urged it to go further.

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Thirty years on since the adoption of the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive (UWWTD), the European Commission has introduced an initial revision, which includes the EU’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction commitments.

“We welcome the Commission’s revised legislation, especially the inclusion of methane emissions during biogas production, but we also urge the Commission to explore reducing process emissions of other GHGs, such as nitrous oxide to drive a net zero approach for utilities – with clear targets and roadmap for reducing those emissions,” said Alexis de Kerchove, Xylem’s senior director for Client Sustainability. “Likewise, it’s paramount to recognize the importance of digitalizing the wastewater treatment sector. This will contribute to the EU’s twin digital and green transitions and help wastewater treatment plants implement the directive’s new requirements with minimal greenhouse gas emission and in a cost-effective way.”

Xylem believes that a revised UWWTD that considers energy neutrality requirements for wastewater treatment plants will both help cut CO2 emissions and also align with other EU legislation in the fight against climate change – such as the EU Climate Law, Fit for 55 package and RePowerEU. Water and wastewater infrastructure are major GHG contributors, making up approximately 2% of global GHG emissions – on a par with the global shipping industry.

Xylem says it looks forward to future discussions on the proposal, with a view to improving this initial revision.