The European Commission has adopted the revised BAT conclusions for waste treatment after the positive vote of the representatives of the EU Member States in the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) Article 75 Committee. The review's BAT conclusions were published on 17 August in the Official Journal of the EU. The BAT conclusions provide national authorities with the technical basis for setting permit conditions for installations.
While the main aim of these BAT conclusions is to reduce emissions from different waste treatments, other environmental issues – such as energy efficiency, resource efficiency (water consumption, reuse and recovery of materials), prevention of accidents, noise and odour, management of residues – are also covered.
The document contains 53 individual BAT conclusions. Of these, 24 apply to the sector as a whole and 29 apply to the most common waste treatments, including mechanical, biological and physico-chemical treatments and treatment of water-based liquid waste. They also apply to temporary waste storage and independent waste water treatment plants whose main share of treated effluent originates in waste treatment installations.:
BAT-associated emission levels
The BAT conclusions include BAT-associated emission levels (BAT-AELs) which have the potential, through their translation into emission limits, to drive a sizeable reduction in emissions from the waste treatment sector. They include for the first time at EU level BAT-AELs for emissions to water and to air from mechanical treatments of waste (shredders) and from aerobic treatment of waste. BAT-AELs are set for total organic carbon, chemical oxygen demand, total suspended solids, hydrocarbon oil index, total nitrogen, total phosphorus, phenol index, free cyanide, absorbable organically bound halogens and metals and metalloids (e.g. arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, nickel, mercury, zinc) in the final effluent for discharges to a receiving water body and to a sewage system.
The existing waste treatment installations (i.e. first permitted before the publication of the BAT conclusions) have four years to comply with the new standards. New installations (i.e. first permitted after the publication of the BAT conclusions) need to comply immediately with the new requirements.
The drafting of the BAT conclusions has been led by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) through its European Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Bureau (EIPPCB) and drawn up with the involvement of experts from industry, EU public authorities, environmental NGOs and other services of the European Commission. The European Compost Network has followed up and chaired the sub-technical working group on biological treatment in this process.
Please find the press release from the European Commission here.
Exclusively for ECN members we have summarised the outcome of the BAT conclusions in a short presentation. This document is available in the internal part of the ECN website (/Task Groups/Area European Policy/TG BREF).