Support businesses to build water treatment facilities

Due to the small number of treatment facilities, less than 8% of municipal wastewater in Serbia is treated before being discharged into rivers and lakes. An additional problem is the water that is discharged by businesses into the same sewage network or recipients.


Measurements show the metal content in river sediments exceeds the limit values, mostly for nickel (33%), chromium (14%), arsenic (9%), zinc (8%), copper (6%), lead (6) and cadmium (4%). The key recommendations in order to reduce the pollution as soon as possible would be joint construction of treatment facilities by companies and local governments, providing incentives to businesses and improving the work of inspectors.


The recommendations are a part of the situational analysis in this area, conducted by NALED, which was presented at today's webinar "Presentation of findings and recommendations for improving the wastewater system in Serbia", as the final event of the campaign "Month of water" launched by NALED, Association 3e and the Network of Inspectors of Serbia.


According to assessments, in the next 16 years, Serbia needs to invest 5,4 billion euros for water protection. The biggest expense is the construction of treatment facilities, which is being complicated by the fact that there are currently no stimulating measures for businesses in dealing with pollution. That is why the financial support of the state is crucial, especially for small and medium enterprises, but in addition to money, they also need advisory assistance - said Srdjan Gajić, a representative of the association 3e, adding that cities and municipalities can solve part of the problem by developing their own treatment facilities.


For us, wastewater management is one of the most important environmental issues. An agreement has been ratified with the Council of Europe Development Bank, which has approved sufficient funds to cover everything we have prepared so far. Soon we will start building 20 to 30 wastewater treatment facilities.  I believe that we will be able to see significant results next year - said Assistant Minister for Environmental Protection Filip Abramović.


There are some good examples among local governments, so the construction of wastewater treatment facilities is in the final phase in Leskovac, Vrbas, Raška, Kruševac, Vranje, Aleksinac and Užice. Investment preparation is underway in Čačak, Jagodina, Kikinda, Kraljevo, Pirot, Požarevac, Vršac and Zaječar, while large cities do not have these treatment facilities. Public sector representatives also pointed out the problem of the lack of inspectors at the national level.


- The role of the inspection is important, but there are not enough inspectors to control a larger number of companies, and the situation is aggravated by the fact that there is no database of polluters. It is necessary to increase the number of inspectors, to improve their capacities and to encourage cooperation between related departments. Strengthening the efficiency of inspection oversight should be ensured through an adequate penalty policy - said Olivera Kikanović, an inspector for environmental protection from the Network of Inspectors of Serbia. While some business entities make investments that serve as best practice examples in our country and in the region, others are not even familiar with the obligations they have, and those that are yet to come due to water protection. Businesses are obliged to harmonize their emissions with the limit values by December 31, 2025, the latest.


Condition study in this area was prepared within the Public-Private Dialogue for Growth project implemented by NALED and funded by USAID. Citizens can send their suggestions for improvement in this field via the website



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