Common Waste Water and Waste Gas Treatment/Management Systems in the Chemical Sector (CWW BREF)

The name of this BREF is as confusing as it is long. A better name for the CWW BREF would be “Chemical Sector Waste Water Treatment (CWW)”. This BREF:

  • Covers almost nothing on waste gas treatment (that would be the WGC BREF)
  • Includes management systems, but not more so than any other recent BREF
  • Does not only cover “common” installations (i.e. those shared by several plants), but also the ones that are individual to one chemical plant.

The chemical industry’s waste water is a potential source of many pollutants in high quantities. It is important that these pollutants are eliminated as best possible before being released to surface waters. 

The CWW BREF defines Best Available Techniques, and the emission levels or energy use associated with them for waste water treatment plants (WWTPs) that receive water from the chemical industry. In some cases, such WWTPs are operated by the operator of a chemical plant and exclusively related to that plant. In some other cases, installations on formerly monolithic chemical parks (such as the ones in Geleen or Leverkusen) were at some point sold to different operators – however they still have a single WWTP for all installations. Such WWTPs are often operated by an independent company. 

The first, non-binding CWW BREF was finalised in 2003. Its revision was started in 2008 already and a the new, binding CWW BREF was published eight years later. Its prescriptions become binding latest in June 2020. 

The EEB thoroughly assesses the CWW a report entitled Wasted ink on Waste Water (soon to be published). 

Jean-Luc Wietor, Senior Policy Officer for Industrial Production: Jean-luc.wietor@eeb.org