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Parliamentary questions
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29 January 2020
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 138
Asger Christensen
 Subject: Raw sewage

Torrential downpours are becoming increasingly frequent, and as a result raw sewage is being washed from sewers into rivers and streams.

As these can include bathing water, it is important for the health and well-being of the public that water quality is high, and that water is not contaminated with raw sewage. 

The national authorities in Denmark cannot state exactly how much raw sewage is concerned, and experts say that the method the authorities are using to calculate the figures could be inaccurate by up to 150-200%.

The problem looks set to get worse as a result of climate change, which will cause more extreme weather, including more frequent, intense downpours. Many of Europe’s sewers are not built to cope with larger volumes of rainwater, making sewage leaks more likely.

Does the Commission have data on how much raw sewage washes into European/Danish rivers and streams during torrential downpours?

Under Council Directive 91/271/EEC concerning urban waste-water treatment, the monitoring of urban waste water is a matter for the Member States. Since it is impossible to obtain accurate data on the volume of raw sewage leaking from sewers, does the Commission think that the directive is being complied with?

Original language of question: DA
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