Small wastewater treatment plants in Germany - where can you operate them?

Small sewage treatment plants are somehow a marginal issue in Germany. However, there are a surprising number in our country and their numbers will not shrink in the future. Who in Germany small wastewater treatment plants operates and why, who can not operate them, and what environmental impacts have small sewage treatment plants, you can read here.

Small wastewater treatment plants are common

In total, around 1.7 million small wastewater treatment plants are currently operated in Germany. In view of the fact that there are only around 40 million households in Germany, the number is surprising.

In the future, the number of households that need to process their own wastewater will hardly increase. In many federal states an extension of the public sewage network is not economical and therefore not planned.

The leader in this development is the federal state of Saxony. 5 years ago, it was planned to connect 95% of households in the state to the public sewerage network, but now the rate is only 86%. This means that almost one in ten households have to clean their wastewater according to strict specifications and introduce it into a suitable receiving water.

Who is allowed to operate small wastewater treatment plants?

Basically there is a connection obligation to the public sewer system in Germany. This obligation applies to all citizens. The costs incurred for this, including any necessary development, must be borne by the homeowner himself.

An exception applies only to those households where a connection to the public network is not economical and therefore not planned. Only then may a small sewage treatment plant be set up and operated. Then a so-called "water law permit" for the operation of a small sewage treatment plant is limited (until granted with revocation).

Necessary technical standard

The many obsolete septic tanks were in view of the high pollution of water bodies not a technically viable facility dar.

  • rivers
  • Lakes and
  • groundwater

After Europe-wide demands for improved water protection, septic tanks were largely banned. The continued operation of obsolete and ineffective small sewage treatment plants was banned from 2015, if they were not brought to a reasonable technical standard by this time.

As environmentally acceptable only those small wastewater treatment plants were classified, which have at least one biological treatment stage. As a result, the wastewater is very effectively cleaned and treated, the quality of the treatment corresponds to that of modern small sewage treatment plants largely of large municipal sewage treatment plants.

Impact on the environment

Water quality has improved measurably since the beginning of the millennium through numerous measures in many areas. The modernization of small sewage treatment plants, to which the operators were obliged, is only part of the EU-wide measures. In view of the high number of small wastewater treatment plants in Germany, the contribution to water protection is certainly not insignificant.

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