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C 28 E/60 Official Journal of the European Union EN 6.2.

2003

(2003/C 28 E/065) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0942/02


by Nelly Maes (Verts/ALE) to the Commission

(9 April 2002)

Subject: The hydrological situation in north-west Slovakia

The north-western region of Slovakia possesses unique underground resources of fresh water as a result of
a great deal of rainwater flowing into it from the neighbouring mountainous areas (including the Tatra
mountains) and infiltrating the soil. This is the largest supply of fresh water in Central Europe and it
provides three districts and 10 % of the entire country with drinking water (e.g. a pumping capacity of
16 000 litres per second).

Can the Commission advise whether this vulnerable region is adequately protected from the infiltration of
waste water (because of the lack of water purification plant and/or sewage systems)? Is it aware of
Slovakian or European projects and/or project applications aimed at providing better protection for this
vulnerable region? If so, can it provide information on these projects and/or applications and on the
follow-up action taken on them? Does it consider this region to be adequately equipped to protect the
water resources under ground?

If not, does it intend to look, literally, in greater depth at this valuable water resource concealed
underground in Slovakia?

Answer given by Mr Verheugen on behalf of the Commission

(21 May 2002)

The Slovak Republic is already in the process of constructing and upgrading waste water collection and
treatment systems under the requirements of existing Slovak law and according to an approved
implementation plan. According to the Water Act, recently adopted, anybody discharging waste water
into ground or surface water must ensure that the quality of receiving water will not deteriorate as a result.
Also, appropriate treatment of discharge waters must be established prior to discharging to the recipient
water. Biological treatment is considered as appropriate treatment. In addition, a combined approach is
already employed for setting environmental quality standards, as required by the Water Framework
Directive, Directive 2000/60/EC of the Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a
framework for Community action in the field of water policy (1).

The objectives of the above-mentioned implementation plan will be to focus effort and resources on
meeting the specific requirements of Council Directive 91/271/EEC on Urban wastewater treatment (2). The
whole country has now been designated a sensitive area so that all waste water treatment plants serving
population equivalents greater than 10 000 will be built with tertiary treatment to remove nutrients.
According to the implementation plan by the end of 2004, 83,07 % of the wastewater will be treated in
line with the Directive, by the end of 2008 already 90,63 % and by the end of 2012, 97,18 %. Full
compliance is foreseen by December 2015 as foreseen in the transitional measure granted in the
framework of negotiations on chapter 22  Environment.

The implementation plan also includes a financing plan for the overall implementation costs (estimated at
EUR 287 million for treatment plants, EUR 603 million for collecting systems and EUR 30,6 million for the
agro food sector). Financing of municipal treatment plants comes mainly from the national and municipal
budgets.

Concerning nitrate pollution from agricultural sources (Council Directive 91/676/EEC of 12 December
1991 (3)), the Slovak Ministry of Environment has conducted a study ‘Protection of Water Sources Against
Pollution by Nitrates from Agricultural Sources’ (VUPOP, 2000) that included an assessment of the areas
that might be identified as vulnerable zones.

The agreed implementation plan foresees the adoption of the Code of good agricultural practice for end
2002 and full transposition of the Directive has been reached with the recent adoption of the Water Act.
The Act defines the requirements to designate vulnerable zones, which will be identified by end 2002. The
Action Programme will be established by accession.
6.2.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 28 E/61

Several programmes have been and are being developed in the area of water quality in the Slovak Republic
with the assistance of PHARE funding, including the following:

1. Projects to strengthen administrative capacity:

 programme SR 9810.02: Harmonisation of the Sectoral Policy and Institutional strengthening in


the field of water management and water protection;

 SK0007.01: Strengthening of the Slovak Environmental Inspectorate, including implementation of


the directive on the quality of water for human consumption;

 Twinning project SR99/IB/EN/01: Supports alignment in the areas of genetically modified


organisms (GMOs), EMAS, water management and drinking water;

 Project for the protection of waters against pollution caused by nitrates from agricultural sources
 Directive 91/676/EC  via the Regional Environmental Action Programme (REAP);

 Project for the implementation of Council Directive 98/83/EC of 3 November 1998 on the
quality of water intended for human consumption (4)  via the Regional Environmental Action
Programme (REAP).

2. Investment projects in the framework of Cross-Border Co-operation to improve sewage treatment:

 1998 Cross-Border Co-operation, SK/AT, Project: Water and waste Management

 1999  Sewage Disposal System, Wastewater Treatment Plant and Drinking Water network in
Kuty (SK);

 1999 Cross-Border Co-operation, SK/CZ, Project: Modernisation of WWTP in Lucenec (SK);

 2000 Cross-Border Co-operation, SK/HU, Project: Common solution to the collection and
treatment of waste waters in the Slovak  Hungarian area of region Tokaj;

 2000 Cross-Border Co-operation, SK/AT, Project: Completion of Wastewater treatment in the


municipalities Gbely, Holiè, Kopèany and Petrova Ves;

 2001 Cross-Border Co-operation SR0113.02  Waste water disposal system of the villages in the
basin of river Morava;

 2001 Cross-Border Co-operation SR0101.02 Clean water  riverbed Poprad and Dunajec;

3. Of particular relevance to the north-west of Slovakia are:

 1999 Cross-Border Co-operation, SK/CZ, Project: Sewer network and WWTP in Skalica (SK);

 2000 Cross-Border Co-operation, SK/PL, Project: Common sewerage and waste water treatment of
the municipalities in the river-basin Polhoranka.

The funds allocated for the above-mentioned projects amount to more than EUR 17 500 000.

Under the Instrument for structural policy for pre-accession (ISPA) funds have been contributed to the
extension and/or modernisation of waste water treatment in the south-west Komarno, Nitra in the north-
west of the country Trencin, Martin and the region of Dolny Turiec, and in the centre of the Tatra region,
Banska Bystrica and Zvolen. The total ISPA contribution to these projects is 50 % of eligible costs
amounting to EUR 47,5 million.

In the framework of negotiations, a peer review of the administrative capacity of the Slovak authorities in
the field of environment is being organised, and will take place in mid-June 2002. The water sector
(drinking water, nitrates and dangerous substances) is one of the areas which will be scrutinised.

(1) OJ L 327, 22.12.2000.


(2) OJ L 135, 30.5.1991.
(3) OJ L 375, 31.12.1991.
(4) OJ L 330, 5.12.1998.