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EU Court of Justice rules against Cyprus for failure to treat urban wastewater

File photo of a wastewater treatment plant

The EU Court of Justice ruled against Cyprus on Thursday over its failure to ensure that all urban areas of more than 2,000 inhabitants have adequate collection and treatment systems for wastewater, as required under EU rules.

The case was opened in July 2017 and, despite the European Commission sending Cyprus the results of scientific findings on wastewater to Cyprus and a reminder to comply with the rules in June 2018, no action was taken. The matter was officially brought to court on March 6, 2019.

The court ruled that, even though “some progress has been made”, Cyprus has failed to collect and treat wastewater in 31 urban areas.

The 31 places mentioned in the court case all have a population ranging from 2,000 to 15,000 people and, under EU law, should have had adequate wastewater treatment systems in place by December 31, 2012.

The Urban Wastewater Directive, introduced by the EU back in 1991, aims to protect people’s health and the environment by requiring that urban wastewater is collected and treated before discharge.

Towns and cities are required to put in place the necessary infrastructure in order to collect and treat their urban wastewater. Untreated wastewater can put human health at risk and pollute lakes, rivers, soil and coastal and groundwater.

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