Late last week, the European Parliament, as part of its October meeting, voted to adopt an amendment to the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive. The new Wastewater Directive makes some changes to current standards.

Revision of EU wastewater treatment directive

In October 2022. The European Commission has presented a proposal to revise the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive. Its intent was to align the document with the EU’s climate action goals, reduce pollution and promote a closed-loop economy. The revised legislation would support efforts to improve air, water and soil quality – in line with the EU’s plan to achieve zero pollution in these areas. This initiative is one of the key elements of the European Union’s wide-ranging plan.

The Wastewater Directive, as well as other initiatives, aims to focus efforts on improving environmental quality and minimizing anthropogenic impacts on ecosystems. By revising the directive, the Commission aims to create a stronger legal framework that promotes more sustainable wastewater treatment practices, which in turn will improve water and soil quality while supporting the EU’s climate neutrality goals.

Wastewater directive – who was for and who was against?

The draft legislation was approved by a majority of 420 votes to 62.

Bez tytulu

The wastewater directive has won the support of most of the major political groups in the European Parliament, with the exception of the ECR (European Conservatives and Reformists) and the right-wing Identity and Democracy.

However, votes on amendments to the draft as a whole were also held before it was voted on. A total of 13 amendments to the EC proposal were considered.

How did Poles vote on the sewage directive?

Forty-two MEPs from Poland took part in the vote. The majority abstained (24), with 18 MEPs in favor of the wastewater directive. None of our country’s representatives present at the meeting voted against the project.

A summary of the names of the MEPs and the distribution of their votes can be checked at


Wastewater directive – what amendments have been made

The Wastewater Directive in its final form is available on the European Parliament’s website. The document includes amendments adopted by the European Parliament on October 5, 2023. The voted draft introduced a total of 252 amendments to the text of the wastewater directive. These include three main aspects: the recognition of water as a public good, reference to previous European Parliament resolutions on the right to water, and a legal framework for the collection, treatment and disposal of urban wastewater in accordance with Directive 91/271/EEC. The goals of all measures taken are to protect the environment, public health, improve the sanitation system and strive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with wastewater treatment – nitrogen and phosphorus, as well as to introduce extended producer responsibility and introduce requirements for microplastics in wastewater.

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