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Wednesday 2nd December 2020
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Cyprus in court over waste water management

Cyprus in court over urban waste water managementTHE EUROPEAN Commission has referred Cyprus to the European Court of Justice over its failure to ensure that all agglomerations with a population of more than 2,000 inhabitants have adequate collection and treatment systems for urban waste water as required under EU rules (Council Directive 91/271/EEC).

According to a European Commission press release “Cyprus has failed to provide a collecting system for a number of agglomerations and has also failed to ensure that the urban waste water entering collecting systems is subject to appropriate treatment.

“Although some progress has been made, Cyprus is, however, still failing to ensure that in 31 agglomerations all waste waters are collected or that urban waste water entering collecting systems is subject to appropriate treatment before being discharged.

“As full compliance is in some cases not expected by the Cypriot authorities before 2027, the Commission has decided to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the EU.”

The Commission opened the infringement proceedings by sending a letter of formal notice to the Cypriot authorities in July 2017 and a reasoned opinion in June 2018.

Background to waste water

The Urban Waste Water Directive (Council Directive 91/271/EEC) aims to protect people’s health and the environment by requiring that urban waste water (domestic waste water and waste water from certain industrial sectors) is collected and treated before discharge.

Towns and cities are required to put in place the necessary infrastructure in order to collect and treat their urban waste water. Untreated waste water can put human health at risk and pollute lakes, rivers, soil and coastal and groundwater.

Waste water and the Pissouri landslide

According to Elina Zoi, the lawyer representing Pissouri residents whose homes are being destroyed by a landslide, all studies agree that a major factor in activating the phenomenon is the accumulation of large quantities of water in the subsoil, which comes from two sources: rain water and sewage water.

Lack of appropriate infrastructure has led to the accumulation of large quantities of water and the destabilisation of the soil, causing the slow-moving landslide phenomenon, the speed of which, however, more than tripled in 2018, due to increased rainfall.


  1. In Pissouri however due to the landslide being triggered by the underground water, an exemption is not a possibility.

    Regarding the biological systems, my experience has been that they fine until someone uses a strong bleach in the toilet and the bugs all die.

  2. No wonder the Cypriot Government does not want EU experts to become involved in the southeast Pissouri landslide.

  3. Hi Nigel, In Pegeia, Council has been informed a few months ago that we have been granted an exemption but required to study waste in tourist areas, which is now ongoing in Pegeia.

    They are looking at small efficient biological plants for the commercial zones & improvement/upgrade on older homes in coastal area.

    Linda, Pegeia Councillor

    Ed: Thanks Linda. I wonder how many other places have been granted an exemption?

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