Regulatory framework for drinking water, wastewater discharge and reuse
The Polish system of water management has a complex organisational structure. The most relevant to this subject are the following:
Drinking water quality regulations
Polish drinking water quality standards are set in the Regulation of the Minister of Health of 20 of April on Quality of water intended for human consumption, Dz.U. 2010 Nr 72, poz. 466 (Dz.U.poz. 466). It is in accordance with the EU Drinking Water Directive 98/83/EC (DWD) and sets out maximum allowed concentrations (MAC) of substances present in drinking water and the authority responsible for quality control (see section 13.2.1. in the Overview of EU regulation chapter). As well as the standards set in DWD, Poland established additional chemical parameters for drinking water quality (see following figure).
Municipal and industrial wastewater quality regulations
In 2010, 89% of the urban and 29% of the rural population was connected to a WWTP (just over 65% of the total population) which represents a significant increase since 1995.
Water reuse regulations
The only reference to general water reuse in Poland comes from UWWTD. However, Article 12 of UWWTD only reads that “Treated wastewater shall be reused whenever appropriate”. Through the research project called Aquarec, European Commission developed “Guideline for quality standards for water reuse in Europe” which only has an advisory role. Therefore, several EU countries developed their own regulations due to the lack of uniform water reuse standards at European level.
Water in industry: Mining industry
Polish industry contributes to approximately 31% of the country’s GDP each year and uses about 70% of water intake. The most important sector of Polish industry is the energy sector which generates 5% of the country’s GDP, followed by mining contributing approximately 3% of GDP.
Future regulatory scenario and conclusions
Since joining the EU in 2004, significant improvements were made in Poland’s water sector due to large investments and financial resources available through various EU funds. Poland amended most of its water quality regulations in accordance with EU legislation. It is expected that, within the WFD, Poland will implement EU Priority Substances Directive (PSD) which sets the MAC for certain substances and groups of substances that present a substantial risk to the aquatic environment. Poland was legally obliged to transpose the PSD into its national law in July 2010. Therefore its implementation could be expected shortly. This implies that Poland will have to comply with more stringent environmental quality standards.
List of laws, standards and policies