Poland is facing an important environmental task to improve river water quality and protect the Baltic Sea. Therefore, almost all river basins in the country will need to be connected to modernized wastewater treatment plants. According to OECD assessments, Poland has already made remarkable environmental progress in recent years, meeting most of its environmental objectives to date. Nevertheless, the road to environmental convergence within the EU will be a long one. As stated by the Polish Ministry of Regional Development, Poland’s total financial commitment towards reaching the EU water and wastewater treatment standards within by 2015 amount to 15.5 billion Euro. So far Poland has financed only 7.5 billion Euros on projects of this kind. The Ministry of Environment confirms that the country will have to invest over 2 billion Euros annually until 2015 to meet the remaining EU environmental standards in the water and wastewater area.
Over the past decade, water abstraction has decreased significantly; at the same time, there has been significant progress to connect both rural and urban populations to the water supply and sewage systems. While the introduction of water metering, reduction of leakage, charging for water abstraction and wastewater discharges show signs of progress, surface water quality is still unsatisfactory and large investments in wastewater treatment plants have not lead to a corresponding improvement in surface water quality. Major expenditures for water management infrastructure are necessary to ensure that water supply and wastewater related infrastructure comply with European directives. Under EU regulations, all towns with population over 2,000 must have such facilities.
Since its accession into the EU in 2004, Poland has been following the National Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plan. According to this plan, Poland has until the beginning of 2015 to reduce the production of biodegradable pollution by 100%. This plan encompasses 1635 agglomerations and calls for the creation of sewer systems and municipal wastewater treatment plants for 1331 agglomerations over 2000 citizens; the construction of 30,641 kilometers of sewers, as well as the modernization of 569 municipal wastewater treatment plants as well as the construction of 177 new plants. The total cost of this project will amount to 15.5 billion Euros, of which 3 billion Euros will be spent for treatment plants only. As of December 2010, 1069 agglomerations have been already covered with the Plan principles. Poland has full access to structural funds from the European Union. All of these funds are available to finance the rehabilitation of the water/wastewater treatment infrastructure in Poland.