A sizeable chunk of Poland’s population is not connected to any wastewater system. With Polish cities growing at a fast rate, more rural settlements are built on the fringes of these cities requiring municipal governments to address their growing wastewater problems.
The standards and requirements of the WFD and more specifically the Urban Wastewater Directive of 1991 have been introduced ensuring Polish environmental law is harmonious with European Community environmental law. Furthermore, 6 months before entering the European Union, the Council of Ministers approved the National Urban Wastewater Treatment Program. With the aim of speeding up implementation of projects, preference loans and various credit options have been set up. The Cohesion fund also provides opportunities to large agglomerations to obtain investment for water and sewage management.
The waste water management market
According to country data, huge investments have been made in the wastewater treatment market totaling more than 15 billion EUR including 3 billion EUR in the last 3 years itself. A further 2 billion EUR per year will be required until 2015 to meet EU requirements.
The number of wastewater treatment plants in Poland has grown by nearly 25%, from 2,475 in 2000 to 3,223 in 2011. This increase is exclusive to villages, from 1,510 in 2000 to 2,401 in 2011 indicating the potential for wastewater treatment here.
The majority of untreated water goes through just two plants, namely, Śląskie and Mazowieckie leading to huge investments targeting them over the past few years. Majority of the plants are operated through municipality owned water service companies with only six municipalities having private investors. Most impressive is the Warsaw Wastewater Treatment Plant “Czajka”, owned and operated by the city of Warsaw with a daily capacity of over 435 000 m3.
Outlook for potential changes within the waste water management industry
Upcoming regulation changes will have a profound impact on this industry as the number of scattered settlements will grow with residential buildings being developed in rural areas. Hence there will be more pressure to expand sewage capabilities as none of the current programs cover all of Poland. Only 60% of the rural population is covered. This will bring in new opportunities for partners to finance and lead such projects.
Key issues within the waste water management market
Two primary issues have to be tackled immediately. They are:
- Sludge: Although sludge is increasingly being treated thermally, an alarming amount continues to be land filled posing a big problem in the future. With 9,168,000 tons of sludge produced in 2011 alone, 20% was land filled with approximately 5% treated thermally.
- High level of phosphorous in wastewater – This focus is on companies that produce products with unusually high amounts of phosphorus. This will reduce investment that goes into chemically removing high-levels of phosphorous from clean water.
Opportunities in the public sector
The following opportunities are:
- Infrastructure providers and advisories for sludge treatment.
- Compulsory treatment regulations and limitations on landfill opportunities.
- Effective financing solutions for underdeveloped wastewater treatment and management in smaller rural areas.
- Imparting knowledge of wastewater management.
- Most projects being financed by the EU and municipal governments.
Opportunities in the private sector
The following opportunities are:
- Fragmented markets will be consolidated.
- Entrepreneurs looking out for new solutions in the international markets applicable in Poland.
- More demand for wastewater equipment and infrastructure.
To take advantage of the above opportunities, it would be helpful to engage the services of a professional market research agency to facilitate the process.