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Sanitation

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Water sanitation is a vital process for guaranteeing the quality of water and, therefore, the well-being of people and the preservation of the environment. As such, it is important to return the water we have used into the environment (rivers and the sea) in optimal conditions. Under current legislation, the evacuation and treatment of wastewater is a municipal-level responsibility.

For over 25 years, the Catalan Government (first with the Junta de Sanejament and, from 2000, with the ACA) has seen the vital and strategic importance of the Sanitation Plan for providing the country with the necessary infrastructures to guarantee the proper treatment of urban wastewater. As a result, the wastewater treatment plants and pre-processing facilities currently in operation in Catalonia guarantee that the used water is returned appropriately into the environment, avoiding the deterioration of water bodies, a basic principle of the Water Framework Directive.

The Catalan Water Agency (ACA), as the water administration responsible for high-level water sanitation planning, and the town and regional councils, consortia and associations in charge of sanitation, are all involved in this process and they collaborate in order to guarantee the provision of this essential service to the population. Thanks to the water rate (previously increased sanitation rate), paid as part of the water bill, it was possible to generate economies of scale to streamline and drive the construction and maintenance of the sanitation systems in the early 90s, a time when most municipalities had no water treatment facilities. The ACA provides local support and manages, as a subsidiary, the sanitation systems which have not yet been taken over by municipalities.

Today, the sanitation systems in place can provide treated wastewater for 97% of the population in Catalonia. In addition, the ACA is working to close the water cycle and guarantee that 100% of wastewater is treated in the future.

  • Wastewater Management

    Information about the types of sanitation systems and wastewater treatment plants in service in Catalonia.

  • Sludge management

    Access to information on the management and production of sludge (biosolids) in Catalonia.

Regulations

Revised text of the Water Act  (external link)
Revised text of the Catalonia Water Act, approved by Legislative decree 3/2003 of 4 November.
Water Framework Directive (external link)
Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Board, of 22 October, establishing a community activity framework in the water policy area.
Municipal and local law in Catalonia (external link)
Legislative Decree 2/2003 of 28 April, approving the revised text of the municipal and local law in Catalonia.
Directive on wastewater treatment (external link)
Directive 91/271/EEC, of 21 May, on the treatment of urban wastewater.
Regulation of public sanitation services (external link)
Decree 130/2003, of 13 May, approving the regulation of public sanitation services.
Directive 76/464/CEE (external link)
Further information
Review of the areas susceptible to the Sanitation Plan (external link)

Agreement GOV/5/2014, of 21 January, reviewing the sensitive areas River Basin District of Catalonia and coastal areas.