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Water and Sewage Management Issues in Rural Poland

Piasecki, Adam
Water 2019 v.11 no.3
buildings, drainage, infrastructure, politics, rural areas, rural population, sewage, sewage treatment, tanks, tap water, wastewater, wastewater treatment, water supply, Poland
Water and sewage management in Poland has systematically been transformed in terms of quality and quantity since the 1990s. Currently, the most important problem in this matter is posed by areas where buildings are spread out across rural areas. The present work aims to analyse the process of changes and the current state of water and sewage management in rural areas of Poland. The author intended to present the issues in their broader context, paying attention to local specificity as well as natural and economic conditions. The analysis led to the conclusion that there have been significant positive changes in water and sewage infrastructure in rural Poland. A several-fold increase in the length of sewage and water supply networks and number of sewage treatment plants was identified. There has been an increase in the use of water and treated sewage, while raw sewage has been minimised. Tap-water quality and wastewater treatment standards have improved. At the same time, areas requiring further improvement—primarily wastewater management—were indicated. It was identified that having only 42% of the rural population connected to a collective sewerage system is unsatisfactory. All the more so, in light of the fact that more than twice as many consumers are connected to the water supply network (85%). The major ecological threat that closed-system septic sewage tanks pose is highlighted. It is pointed out that they are mainly being replaced by household wastewater treatment systems with ineffective filtering drainage. Furthermore, recommendations were also made for the future development of selected aspects of water and sewage management, including the legal and the political.