The Sewage Sludge Directive 86/278/EEC was adopted to encourage the correct use of sewage sludge in agriculture and to regulate its use in order to prevent harmful effects on soil, vegetation, animals and humans.
The use of sludge in agriculture is an effective alternative for chemical fertilisers, as it is rich in nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous. Sludge also contains valuable organic matter that is useful when soils are depleted or subject to erosion. Recycling of materials, in line with circular economy principles, is high on the EU agenda. However it is also important that what is used as a resource is not contaminated, otherwise recycling will result in increasing pollution of soil, water and/or air.
The Circular Economy Action Plan adopted on 11 March 2020 commits the Commission to consider revising the Sewage Sludge Directive. To inform this reflection, this evaluation aims to see whether the law is doing what it is meant to do, whether its objectives are still relevant today, and whether the costs arising from the requirements of the law are justified.
The results of this consultation (feedback period 20/11/2020 – 05/03/2021) will feed into the evaluation work. Please take part in the consultation here.