Wastewater treatment protects environment and health

Jun 23, 2023

Copyright: Umweltbundesamt

Proper urban waste water treatment is crucial for improving public health and environmental well-being. By effectively treating waste water, the spread of waterborne diseases is reduced, protecting water resources, and minimizing health risks. It also prevents contamination of drinking water sources and safeguards aquatic ecosystems from harmful pollutants. Implementing robust waste water treatment systems is essential for promoting community well-being and achieving sustainable development.

In the Western Balkan region, which faces significant challenges in protecting the water environment from the adverse effects of discharges of urban waste water and from industrial discharges, the European Union’s Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (UWWTD) plays a vital role. This directive provides a framework for proper pollutant removal from urban waste water, benefiting urban populations and the environment. Recognized as a priority within the European Green Agenda, the UWWTD contributes to the shared knowledge and goals of the European Green Deal.

To support the implementation of the UWWTD, the EU4Green project brings together stakeholders of the Western Balkan region and experts from the Environment Agency Austria. During June and July, the status of UWWTD implementation in the region was discussed in workshops held in each Western Balkan economy. By addressing shared challenges and exchanging best practices, EU4Green aims to guide Western Balkan authorities in adopting and fully implementing the UWWTD, thereby preventing water pollution, protecting human health, and improving the environment.


The prime focus of the workshops was to support the WB6 in establishing effective strategies for sewage sludge management and streamlining regular reporting mechanisms. Therefore, the creation of comprehensive monitoring programmes for waste water discharges was discussed with national representatives from the health and water sectors. This not only encompasses practical aspects of monitoring routines and defining parameters but also highlights the necessity of data management and reporting processes.

On a regional level, there is a need to enhance connection rates to collecting systems and waste water treatment plants. The workshops mark the first step of EU4Green to strengthen the beneficiaries in the region to develop actions that will accelerate the establishment and development of these critical infrastructures.


Copyright: Umweltbundesamt


The Green Agenda is a comprehensive plan that seeks to achieve environmental sustainability and socio-economic transformation. It involves transitioning to a low-carbon economy, promoting renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, and biodiversity conservation. Social equity, inclusivity, and sustainable consumption patterns are also emphasized to build a resilient and equitable future for all.

The EU4Green project supports the Western Balkans in their transition towards modern, resource-efficient, and competitive economies. Financed by the European Union and the Austrian government, the project aims to decouple economic growth from greenhouse gas emissions, resource use, and waste generation. It also focuses on fostering climate resilience and preserving biodiversity. The project is implemented by the Environment Agency Austria in collaboration with the governments, institutions, and EU Delegations in the Western Balkans, striving for a sustainable and prosperous future for the region.