Effluent Standards

Wastewaterdischarge standards differ from country to country, and from application to application.

European Standards

European Directive n° 91-271 du 21/05/1991 is related to the treatment of urban wastewater and the protection of aquatic environments.

The Water Framework Directive n° 2000-60 of 23/10/2000 (WFD) consolidated in 2006 for community action in the water sector. This is to synchronize the existing guidelines. It sets goals for :

  • the preservation and restoration of the status of surface waters (freshwater and coastal waters)
  • groundwater

The main goal is to achieve by 2015 the good status of the various environments throughout Europe.

Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC)

It is a directive of the European Parliament and the Council adopted on October 23, 2000. It sets out a framework for a comprehensive EU water policy.

In addition, it is intended to prevent and reduce water pollution.

The objective for 2015 is the “good status” of water bodies to ensure sustainable management of this vital resource. The “good status” of water bodies is defined in the WFD as the good status:

  • ecological and chemical for surface water bodies (e.g. a river),
  • chemical and quantitative for groundwater bodies (e.g. a water table).

Discharge Standard Management Plan

Within a maximal period of nine years following the date of entry into force of the Directive, each river basin district (some being international) had to produce a “Management Plan” based on the state of the art. In other words, this management plan must be able to:

  • prevent deterioration
  • improve and restore the status of surface water bodies
  • to reach a good chemical and ecological status of these
  • reduce pollution from discharges and emissions of hazardous substances;
  • protect, enhance and restore groundwater
  • prevent their pollution, their deterioration
  • ensure a balance between their catchments and their renewal;
  • preserve (restore where appropriate) protected areas.

A period of fifteen years (from the date of entry into force) is foreseen to achieve the objectives of good status or good potential of water bodies. This will be done with possible derogations under conditions specified by the directive.

On the other hand, temporary accidental water pollution will not be considered as a violation of the Directive if it was unforeseeable, induced by an accident, a natural cause or a case of force majeure.

Framework Directive

This directive allows :

  • Consolidate:
    • “coordinated” management by groups of ponds
    • consideration of economic data and financial incentives
    • information, consultation and public participation
  • Compléter:
    • the previous sectoral policies (drinking water, sanitation, fisheries…) in favor of a common, integrated and sustainable water policy
    • the content and pace of planning and programming
  • Innove :
    • by setting an obligation of result and “environmental objectives” for each “body of water”: to reach a “good ecological status” in 2015
    • it has the force of a European law, with a concern for realism

It was then transposed by each state into “daughter” directives. For example, in France, Directive 91/271/EEC of 21 May 1991 concerning urban waste water treatment (91/271/EEC), and prescribes the following discharge standards:

The use of treated effluent for irrigation

Recycling (REUSE) is an effective solution for water scarcity in agriculture. Indeed, the treatment and reuse of wastewater for agricultural irrigation allows both :

  • to meet the needs of this area
  • promote savings
  • assisting some communities.

The appearance of the ISO 16075 standard has made it possible to ensure a smooth flow of irrigation projects. As well, it includes general guidelines for the establishment and implementation of projects for the use of treated wastewater in irrigation. It also contains guidelines for materials used, construction and performance. Finally, this standard incorporates everything you need to know about many other areas such as :

  • types of irrigated crops
  • water quality risk
  • the necessary components for the execution of an irrigation project (reservoirs, piping networks…).

This standard contains several parts:

  • Irrigation Reuse Project Basics: This section includes guidelines for all elements of an irrigation reuse project.
  • Project Development: It contains guidelines for design criteria and quality specifications.
  • Elements of an Irrigation Reuse Project: This section contains the elements necessary for a project to use treated wastewater in irrigation.
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