With the revised Directive, wastewater operators will be obliged to recover nutrients from wastewater, adapt new standards for micropollutants and monitoring requirements for microplastics.

The installation in Norway will illustrate Alfa Laval’s membrane separation technology’s ability to improve water quality and remove harmful pollutants such as microplastics, pharmaceutical residues and ‘forever chemicals’ known as PFAS.

The revised Directive will change the demands and standards for wastewater treatment across the EU, making solutions like Alfa Laval’s more important than ever.

Commenting on the development, Nish Patel, President of the Food & Water Division at Alfa Laval, said, “The strengthened standards will increase the demand for new treatment techniques and technologies for handling these harmful micropollutants. Our membrane separation technology improves water quality and meet the new requirements. Our solutions are also energy-efficient, thereby contributing to the EU objective for the sector to reach energy neutrality.”

The Sarpsborg plant, which will become operational in 2027, will be a state-of-the-art energy-neutral facility. It will ensure clean water for the inhabitants around the Oslo Fjord by cleaning municipal wastewater and removing harmful micro-pollutants before they reach the fjord.

Alfa Laval has an extensive product portfolio for wastewater treatment, handling different steps in the process like sludge treatment, dewatering, cleaning, and water re-use. Its advanced membranes can even filter particles as small as 0.1 micrometers, including microplastics.

Since the adoption of the EU’s Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive in 1991, the quality of European rivers, lakes and seas has dramatically improved. However, this 30-year-old Directive does not address pollution caused by storm water overflows or micropollutants such as residues from pharmaceuticals and cosmetics – which have a detrimental effect on nature. Therefore, in October 2022, the Commission initiated a revision of the Directive adapting it to the newest standards. Once adopted, they will take effect progressively.

With the revised Directive, wastewater operators will not only continue to be responsible for collecting, treating, monitoring and properly discharging urban wastewater, they will also be obliged to recover nutrients from wastewater, adapt new standards for micropollutants and monitoring requirements for microplastics. The strengthened standards will increase the demand for new treatment techniques and technologies for reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

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