Untreated urban wastewater has been identified as one of the biggest sources of surface and groundwater pollution in the 11 River Basins located in Eastern Partner Countries.
The River Basin Management Plans developed during the European Union Water Initiative Plus project (2016-2021) identify this significant issue as in need of urgent action.
Inadequate sanitation systems harm human health and the environment
When municipal wastewater collection and treatment systems are lacking or faulty, nutrients, pharmaceutical products, pathogens and synthetic substances can spread into rivers, lakes and groundwater, which is often used for the drinking water supply. And often, groundwater is abstracted in rural areas, where untreated domestic wells can be unhealthy for local inhabitants and their animals.
Significant investments urgently needed
In all EU Eastern Partner countries, significant efforts and high investments are urgently needed to establish proper sanitation, collection and treatment systems, and to ensure that they are properly maintained. The EU4Environment Water Resources and Environmental Data programme (2022-2024) works to attract investments in wastewater treatment in the Eastern Partner countries and make them sustainable, preparing the ground for a “zero pollution” ambition in the region.