IATE Term of the Week: Wastewater treatment

July 28, 2017 12:13 pm

Holiday destinations in the EU receive every summer an increasing number of tourists searching to relax and enjoy their leisure time with their families and friends. Swimming in our seas, rivers and/or lakes is one of the most popular activities and the quality of such waters is, thus, of uttermost importance for the EU. Sewage and water draining from farms and farmland are the main sources of pollution, which can be increased due to floods and heavy rains that pour wastewater into rivers and seas. The European Environment Agency (EEA) and the European Commission publish the annual European bathing water quality report to help citizens stay informed about the quality of EU waters.  In this context we have chosen Wastewater treatment as the IATE Term of this week!

IATE defines wastewater treatment as “the process to which wastewater is subjected in order to remove or alter its objectionable constituents and thus render it less offensive or dangerous“. Wastewater can come from different sources and depending on its origin, it is classified as urban or domestic wastewater. To understand the difference between the two, don’t miss this glossary of terms related to urban wastewater. Adequate treatment of wastewater is necessary to reduce water pollution, improve the environment and health of the living beings that cohabitate in it and to enhance the attractiveness of bathing sites as tourist destinations.

All EU Member States (MS), together with Albania and Switzerland, monitor their bathing sites as foreseen in the Bathing Water Directive. Faecal bacteria determines the level of bathing water quality, which can be labelled as ‘excellent‘, ‘good‘, ‘sufficient‘ or ‘poor‘. If a bathing site obtains the qualification of ‘poor’, the relevant MS our participating country is expected to apply a series of measures, that range from information measures to banning bathing, as well as applying the relevant corrective measures. The information resulting from these assessments is collected and presented in the European Environment Agency’s annual report, which this shows where it is more likely to find good quality bathing waters in 2017.

The good news this year is that the shows that more than 85% of the bathing sites monitored in 2016 were labelled as excellent, i.e. mostly free from pollutants harmful to human health and the environment, and that more than 96% of bathing sites meet EU’s minimum quality requirements. The MS with more excellent water quality bathing sites are Luxembourg, Cyprus, Malta, Greece and Austria.

Below you can find the entry for wastewater treatment in IATE, please help us complete the missing languages:

IATE entry wastewater treatment

Contribute to IATE! We would appreciate your contribution to update this term in your language. An IATE terminologist of the relevant language will be in charge of the validation of contributions and, thus, a delay is to be expected.


You might also be interested in reading these previous posts:

We hope you have enjoyed the reading and wish you happy summer holidays!

Written by Doris Fernandes del Pozo – Journalist, Translator-Interpreter and Communication Trainee at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament & Katerina PalamiotiTranslator, Social Media and Content Manager, Communication Trainee and Foodie at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament.


  • DG Environment (2017) Bathing water quality. Available at: http://bit.ly/2vPjuMZ (Accessed 28 July 2017)
  • DG Environment (2017) Urban Waste Water Directive Overview. Available at: http://bit.ly/2v3tmF8 (Accessed 28 July 2017)
  • European Commission (2017) “More European sites meet excellent bathing water quality standards than ever before”, Press Release. Available at: http://bit.ly/2uIdB4c (Accessed 28 July 2017)
  • European Environmental Agency (2017) European bathing water quality in 2016. EEA Report No 5/2017. Available at: http://bit.ly/2uErCBc (Accessed 28 July 2017)
  • European Parliament News (2017) Splish, splash! Swimming safely in European waters this summer. Available at: http://bit.ly/2vPhO6a (Accessed 28 July 2017)
  • European Parliament News (2017) Swimming safely in European waters. Available at: http://bit.ly/2vd96l3 (Accessed 28 July 2017)

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