Public consultations have just been held on a draft decree of the Minister of Infrastructure, which amends the decree on substances particularly harmful to the aquatic environment and the conditions to be met when discharging wastewater into waters or into the ground, as well as when discharging rainwater or snowmelt into waters or into water facilities.
Regulation – a remedy for the Oder disaster
The amendment to the regulation, the statement of reasons reads, is dictated by the need to maintain surface water quality standards. The project’s justification points to an environmental disaster on the Oder River, and the document is accompanied by a list of entities located in the Oder and Vistula river basins and discharging wastewater with elevated salinity.
The amendment requires continuous monitoring of specific electrolytic conductivity, temperature, pH and dissolved oxygen. The list of entities subject to continuous monitoring of pollution indicators is attached to the regulation in question, and currently includes 29 entities that introduce industrial wastewater and water from the dewatering of mining plants into water, which are allowed by their permits to increase the total concentration of chlorides and sulfates to a value greater than 1,000 mg/l. The obligation to continuously monitor basic pollution parameters will apply to surface water below and above the discharge site, as well as to wastewater quality at the discharge site.
In addition, the regulation, for entities discharging industrial wastewater and water from the dewatering of mining plants, which have been allowed to increase the total concentration of chlorides and sulfates to a value greater than 1,000 mg/l, introduces a mandatory provision for indicating the place of measurement of surface water quality in the water permit or integrated permit.
Introducing wastewater – preparing to update the rules
The regulation is not expected to take effect until January 1, 2024. and does not provide for the inclusion of any other transitional provisions. According to the lawmaker, the distant effective date of the regulation in question is due to the need for entities introducing wastewater into waters to adjust their metering infrastructure.
The regulation, however, lacks regulations on the operation of current permits in terms of the need to indicate where surface water quality is to be measured, which, according to the new regulation, is to be specified in the water permit or integrated permit. In the event that the existing permit does not specify the location, water permit issuing authorities will face an update before January 1 next year.