Large EU fine looms over waste­water

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Greece faces a fine of at least 17 mil­lion eu­ros for fail­ing to com­ply with Euro­pean Union waste­water treat­ment reg­u­la­tions at the Thri­a­seio Plain in western At­tica.

The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion has pro­posed that Greece should face ad­di­tional fines for ev­ery day that it fails to get the fa­cil­i­ties serving the towns of Elef­sina, Aspropy­r­gos, Magoula and Man­dra up to scratch.

The Euro­pean Court of Jus­tice is ex­pected to up­hold the Com­mis­sion’s rec­om­men­da­tion as 12 years have passed since Greece’s first con­vic­tion for vi­o­lat­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal rules, par­tic­u­larly with re­gard to the qual­ity of wa­ter dis­charged into the Gulf of Elef­sina.

After the first con­vic­tion in 2004, Greek au­thor­i­ties as­sured the Com­mis­sion that bi­o­log­i­cal treat­ment plants and the bulk of the wa­ter net­work to the plants would be com­pleted by 2010. A new plant did start op­er­at­ing in the area in 2012, but there have been de­lays in com­plet­ing the net­work. The Com­mis­sion, more­over, is ar­gu­ing that the ex­ist­ing plants are in­ad­e­quate as they are ca­pa­ble of col­lect­ing and treat­ing “only a very low per­cent­age” (28 per­cent) of ur­ban waste­water.

“In ad­di­tion, the Com­mis­sion has not ob­tained from the com­pe­tent au­thor­i­ties any timetable with re­li­able data to per­mit any assess­ment of when any re­al­is­tic progress can be ex­pected,” the ac­tion claims. “The Com­mis­sion em­pha­sizes that the var­i­ous dead­lines which the Greek au­thor­i­ties have over time made known to the Com­mis­sion have never been ob­served.”

In ad­di­tion to the 17-mil­lion-euro penalty, the Com­mis­sion is ask­ing the court to im­pose a fine of 3,828 eu­ros for ev­ery day from the first con­vic­tion (April 14, 2004), with an ad­di­tional fine of 34,974 eu­ros for ev­ery day that Greece fails to com­ply hence­forth.

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