Finland’s water sector performs well in terms of meeting the requirements of European regulations such as the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive, but faces challenges ahead. Keith Hayward spoke with Osmo Seppälä, Managing Director of the Finnish Water Utilities Association, about the coming issues.
As a small organisation with only ten staff but having recently celebrated its 60th anniversary, the Finnish Water Utilities Association (FIWA) has a well-established track record of supporting its members as they work to meet the requirements of national and European legislation. This limited staffing means FIWA has to work closely with its members. ‘We need a lot of support from our member utilities in whatever we do,’ says Osmo Seppälä, the association’s Managing Director.
These utility members have a number of issues on their priority list currently. Seppälä notes that the country’s utilities achieve a high level of compliance with the EU Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive, for example. ‘Regarding the UWWTD, in Finland I would say we are fully in compliance with the directive,’ says Seppälä. Other aspects of wastewater are though going to require investment. ‘I would say that many utilities still have in the future to invest in nitrogen removal,’ he says – a response to the strengthening of both national and EU legislation. ‘In Finland we have some difficulties in reaching the treatment objectives regarding nitrogen because our wastewaters are generally cold and nitrogen removal especially in the winter time is a little bit difficult,’ he says, explaining that this presents a challenge mainly for small and medium-sized treatment plants.
- Finland, utility management