Cooperation with water users in the industrial wastewater treatment

Despite a quite progressive step forward to the development of technologies water and wastewater treatment, the management of water recourses is still an important challenge for the whole Baltic Sea Region (BSR). During the project BEST “Better Efficiency for Industrial Sewage Treatment”, financed by the program “Interreg Baltic Sea Region”, a consortium of partners with support from experts made a colossal job concerning highlighting of industrial wastewater management aspects, discharged to the municipal sewage system.

It is a challenge for the whole Baltic Sea Region that a municipal wastewater treatment plant constructed for processing wastewaters from households takes a huge load from industrial influences. With the good developed and effective legislation in the EU, at the national level we can still observe the “bottlenecks” in the wastewater management. The same situation is in Russia, where the work on the improvement of legislation concerning the discharge of industrial wastewaters to the municipal sewer is currently going on.

In the process of implementation of the BEST project several challenges were highlighted as the common in the BSR:

  • Insufficient attention to the potential contamination of hazardous substances in the wastewaters discharged to the municipal sewage system;
  • Low efficiency of the procedures related to the contracts (negotiation, updating, performance);
  • Imperfection of the system for issuing of complex environmental permits and supervision;
  • Weak cooperation between participants in the process of wastewater management.

Furthermore, it was determined we have the same issues in decision-making related to the wastewaters. The most important is different interests of the organizations – water users. Usually, issues in the implementation of best practices and models for cooperation caused by disagreements of the actors is what hinders obtaining of the common decision, which would meet all interests. In case of industrial wastewaters discharged into sewer system amount of actors involved can be more than two. Thus, the process of assessment, confirmation and implementation of the best approaches need to pay attention to more interests. A good example can be the model of cooperation: Local authority – Water utility – Industrial enterprise – Society – Environment (on the scheme).


The partners of the project tried to present the most comprehensive guidelines for all water user sides. The guidelines aim to negotiate positions of the participants of water cooperation with the perspective of improving sustainable technical and environmental development. Besides, numerous interviews, meetings and events organized in the frame of the project implementation allowed to ensure the correct ideas about characteristics of industrial wastewaters, their influence on the sewage system, WWTP and environment. Such achievements led to detailed and fruitful dialogues and as a result to finding and implementing best solutions and models of water management taking into account local conditions. Making the process of discussing and confirming management tools more simple and accesible can ensure win-win situations. This and other aspects for wastewater management are provided in the Guidelines for management of industrial wastewaters and National Annexes for Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Russia (Kaliningrad).