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9. 10.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 310/125

Answer given by Mrs Bjerregaard on behalf of the Commission


(24 April 1998)

In view of the length of its answer, the Commission is sending it direct to the Honourable Member and to
Parliament’s Secretariat.

(98/C 310/168) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0765/98


by Nikitas Kaklamanis (UPE) to the Commission
(18 March 1998)

Subject: Hazards associated with biological treatment of sewage at Psyttalia

The biological treatment of sewage from Attica at the plant on the island of Psyttalia is developing into a series of
major environmental problems which may be summarized as follows:
1. the management of the 250 tonnes of sludge produced every day by the first stage of sewage treatment,
which will increase to 800 tonnes daily when the second stage of treatment is completed in three years time;
2. the toxicity of the sludge, in which the average concentration of heavy metals (chromium, nickel, zinc,
copper etc.) is far in excess of the concentrations laid down by Directive 86/278/EEC (1);
3. the concentrations of heavy metals in the sewage, making biological treatment problematic;
4. the problems arising from the tolerance shown by EYDAP (the company responsible for water supplies and
sewerage in Athens) towards industries using its network for the disposal of non-biologically treated waste.

What does the Commission intend to do to save the Saronic Gulf in view of the fact that the Psyttalia biological
treatment plant is funded by the European Union?

(1) OJ L 181, 4.7.1986, p. 6.

Answer given by Mrs Bjerregaard on behalf of the Commission


(28 April 1998)

The toxicity of the sludge produced by waste water treatment on the island of Psyttalia appears to be due to the
discharge of industrial waste water into the collecting systems and urban waste water treatment plants.

Under Article 11 of Council Directive 91/271/EEC of 21 May 1991 concerning urban waste-water treatment (1),
Member States must ensure that discharge of industrial waste water is subject to prior regulations or specific
authorisations by the competent authority or appropriate body. In particular, industrial waste water must undergo
such pre-treatment as is required in order to ensure that the operation of the waste water treatment plant and the
treatment of sludge are not impeded and that sludge can be disposed of safely in an environmentally acceptable
manner.

The use of sludge in agriculture must conform with the provisions of Council Directive 86/278/EEC of 12 June
1986 on the protection of the environment, and in particular of the soil, when sewage sludge is used in
agriculture.

In its capacity as guardian of the Treaties, the Commission will verify that the Greek authorities are observing the
provisions and will investigate the case if necessary under the procedure laid down in Article 169 of the EC
Treaty.

(1) OJ L 135, 30.5.1991.