From wastewater to fertilisers--Technical overview and critical review of European legislation governing phosphorus recycling.

Abstract

The present paper is based on an analysis of the EU legislation regulating phosphorus recovery and recycling from wastewater stream, in particular as fertiliser. To recover phosphorus, operators need to deal with market regulations, health and environment protection laws. Often, several permits and lengthy authorisation processes for both installation (e.g. environmental impact assessment) and the recovered phosphorus (e.g. End-of-Waste, REACH) are required. Exemptions to certain registration processes for recoverers are in place but rarely applied. National solutions are often needed. Emerging recovery and recycling sectors are affected by legislation in different ways: Wastewater treatment plants are obliged to remove phosphorus but may also recover it in low quantities for operational reasons. Permit processes allowing recovery and recycling operations next to water purification should thus be rationalised. In contrast, the fertiliser industry relies on legal quality requirements, ensuring their market reputation. For start-ups, raw-material sourcing and related legislation will be the key. Phosphorus recycling is governed by fragmented decision-making in regional administrations. Active regulatory support, such as recycling obligation or subsidies, is lacking. Legislation harmonisation, inclusion of recycled phosphorus in existing fertiliser regulations and support of new operators would speed up market penetration of novel technologies, reduce phosphorus losses and safeguard European quality standards.

DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.09.064

Cite this paper

@article{Hukari2016FromWT, title={From wastewater to fertilisers--Technical overview and critical review of European legislation governing phosphorus recycling.}, author={Sirja Hukari and Ludwig Hermann and Anders N{\"a}ttorp}, journal={The Science of the total environment}, year={2016}, volume={542 Pt B}, pages={1127-35} }