Almost half of Portuguese wastewater untreated – NGO

Published October 4th, 2018

Only 58% of municipal wastewater generated in Portugal is being effectively treated, and 38% of the country’s WWTPs are operating without valid discharge licences, according to the latest data from the water regulator ERSAR, a report by environmental NGO Zero claimed this week.

The environment ministry asserts that 83% of wastewater is treated, and a ministry spokesman told GWI that Zero’s use of ERSAR data is incorrect, because “they added up the value of wastewater collected by bulk and retail systems” and excluded wastewater treated in collective septic tanks.

“The government argues about how the data is calculated, but ERSAR’s methodology is clearly explained,” Francisco Ferreira, president of Zero, told GWI. “New investment is going into wastewater treatment, so coverage will improve in the future,” he added.

Work is underway on 1,765km of new and renovated sewage networks, and 131 new and renovated WWTPs, Zero’s report says.