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Wastewater   treatment in Bucharest

Bucharest is situated   on the banks of the Dâmbovița River, which flows into the Argeș River, a   tributary of the Danube. Bucharest is supplied with water by three drinking   water plants, located outside the city perimeter. The Argeș river is the main   source of raw water for two of the drinking water plants, while the Dambovita   river supplies the third water plant.

Until 2011, Bucharest   discharged wastewater from more than 2 million inhabitants without treatment   into the river. These wastewaters (from both domestic and industrial use) had   seriously deteriorated both the Dâmbovita and Arges Rivers and made Bucharest   the largest polluter of the Danube in the region. The construction of a   wastewater treatment plant in Bucharest began in 1985 but was abandoned in   1996 because of lack of funds. By 2000, the need for an operational   wastewater treatment plant became increasingly obvious. Furthermore, Romania   declared its whole territory a sensitive area according to the Urban   Wastewater Treatment Directive, which requires all agglomerations of more   than 10,000 population equivalents to have wastewater treatment plants with   the highest degree of treatment, the removal of nitrogen and phosphorus.

In 2011, a wastewater   treatment plant, Glina WWTP, started to operate in Bucharest and it will be   further developed until 2017. After its completion, the plant will ensure the   treatment of the entire wastewater flow of the Bucharest urban area and will   discharge an effluent which will meet the requirements of national and   European legislation, thus eliminating one of the major pollution hotspots in   the Danube River basin (  

The operation of the   wastewater treatment plant can significantly reduce the impact of Bucharest’s   urban wastewater on surface water resources. Since the operation of the plant   started in 2011, the total pollution removal from the wastewater by the   treatment plant has steadily increasedfrom 242 t/day to 340 t/day (Apa Nova   Bucureşti S.A., see factsheet in Annex to this report). Since 2014, the total   pollution removal is even higher than the design level of the Glina WWTP.

According to the WFD   compliant monitoring results at the level of water bodies located on the   Dambovita River (downstream of the Glina WWTP discharge) and on the Arges   River (the last water body before discharging into the Danube River), the   concentrations of organic and nutrient pollution indicators have   significantly decreased in the last 5 years, leading to improvement of river water   quality. It should be highlighted that in the receiving Dambovita water   bodies, approximately 50 % reduction in the concentrations of organic   substances (COD and BOD) have been registered, while total nitrogen and total   phosphorous concentrations have decreased by approximately 30% and 60% respectively   (Source: National Administration ”Romanian Waters”).

The project has also contributed to increasing public’s awareness of the   pollution effects of wastewater and the responsibility to protect river   ecosystems.

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