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<International Source Book On Environmentally Sound Technologies
for Wastewater and Stormwater Management>

7.1 Wastewater characteristics (Topic a)

7.1.1 Wastewater generation

After the political breakdown of the centrally-planned economies in the beginning of the 1990s wastewater generation in both accession countries and other transition countries of Central and Eastern Europe, has considerably declined. The available data and information about wastewater generation show that the decline in generation has continued until 1995 and later. The introduction of new, more efficient technology in industry, low consumption levels and water pricing in some countries might also be responsible for a decline in both, industrial and municipal wastewater generation. Therefore, depending on the political and economical situation in the different countries, a slight increase in economic activities in the last few years did not necessarily lead to an increase in wastewater generation. For example, in Poland wastewater generation decreased by 0.2% in the period 1995-1997 (Polish Statistical Yearbook, 1998); but in Croatia the total generation of wastewater increased by about 8% during the same time period (EPR, 1999).

Quite often, measurements of wastewater quantity generated by different pollution sources and their material composition are not fully conducted by municipalities in transition countries. Reasons might be insufficient laboratory capacities and equipment, unclear ownership of treatment plants and no real enforcement of legislation to meet national effluent standards. Often polluters, like industrial enterprises, do not regularly monitor their effluents.

Because of different national wastewater management strategies and definitions of wastewater generation a comparison of data between countries is difficult. Some countries include cooling, mining and/or precipitation-waters in their definition of wastewater generation. Moreover, not all countries submitted information divided into municipal, industrial and agricultural wastewater. Sometimes industrial and agricultural wastewaters are combined.

Total wastewater, as it is used in the following tables 7.2 and 7.3, covers municipal, industrial and agricultural wastewater.

Municipal wastewater includes wastewater from household connections, small enterprises and sometimes stormwater runoff. Declining population numbers combined with low consumption levels and the breakdown of many small and middle-sized enterprises connected to the municipal wastewater system show impact on the generation of municipal wastewater. According to the available data, in most transition countries the generation of municipal wastewater decreased on average by about 20% in the period between 1990 and 1995. After 1995 in most countries wastewater generation is still decreasing but only slightly. The introduction of water pricing in some Accession countries, i.e. Poland and Czech Republic, has led to a more rational water use and decreased the amount of municipal wastewater. In countries where drinking water is still heavily subsidised by the government, water demand and wastewater generation are still high (i.e. Bulgaria, Romania, most CIS). Of course there are also large regional differences in each country, not only between rural and urban areas, but also between smaller and bigger towns, and towns with separate stormwater systems.

Industrial wastewater includes industrial effluents (with or without pre-treatment), but sometimes also cooling water from energy production and mining water. Industrial wastewater generation has considerably diminished after the political changes in the beginning of the 90s. According to the available data, in many transition countries like Bulgaria, Czech Republic, the Baltic States and Romania the decline in industrial wastewater was between 30-45% in the period between 1990 and 1995. In Hungary and Poland the decline was only between 7-10% in the given period. The slight improvement in wastewater quantity is mostly based on reduction in the production process, and not always because of improvements or constructions of effective treatment facilities.

In Estonia, for example, the water use in industry has fallen over 56% in the period between 1991-94, similar to the wastewater generation. This has been caused by the structural reforms and by recession. The activities food industry or pulp and paper has decreased considerably. In recent years, some of this industry has restarted their activities, often without new environmental investments. For example, drainage water pumped out of oil-shale mines and pits, which contains sulphates, nitrates and suspended solids, is discharged directly into water bodies (EPR, 1996).

Table 7.2: Total generation of wastewater in accession, other transition countries and countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), (million m3/year)


Year Total Agriculture Industry Municipal
Accession countries
Bulgaria 1990 1873 27 1026 820
  1995 1401 41 599 760
Czech Republic* 1990 858   405 453
  1995 612   278 334
Estonia* 1990 3260 290 2840 130
  1995 1849 190 1555 104
Hungary 1990 974 5 268 701
  1995 828 22 250 555
Latvia 1990 552 136 171 245
  1995 348 56 108 184
Lithuania 1990 446 11 84 351
  1995 449 epr      
  1997 471 epr      
Poland* 1990 11368   9055 2314
  1995 9981   8129 1852
  1997 9961   8269 1692
Romania 1991 7852 ? 165 5123 ? 2561 ?
  1995 5268 ? 93 3072 ? 2103 ?
Slovakia 1990 1209      
Slovenia* 1990 292   155 137
  1994 237   96 141
Other Transition Countries
Bosnia and Herzegovina 1989     3465.5 167.3
Croatia* 1990 315 epr   204 112
  1995 268 epr   146 122
  1997 289 epr   155 134
FYR Macedonia 1990 249      
FR Yugoslavia 1990     6318 547.5
Rep.of Moldova 1990 2759 169 2319 271
  1995 1381   17 159
Russian Federation 1990 78019 14363 49774 13133
  1992 73339 14909 44294 13421
Ukraine 1995 14981 2686 8234 59.9
  1996 13998 2387 7613 57.5
Source: UN/ECE, IEDS; Polish Statistical Yearbook, 1998;
Czech Republic: In the industry data agriculture data are included.
Industrial wastewater includes wastewater from energy production, stormwater and mining water. Agricultural wastewater includes fish farming.
Poland: Without agricultural wastewater, which was estimated as 1km3 in 1990.
There are no data for agricultural wastewater available. Industrial wastewater includes manufacturing and mining, without generation of electricity.
Croatia: Generation of industrial wastewater includes agricultural wastewater too.

Agricultural wastewater includes wastewater generated through the operation of agricultural enterprises and activities, and sometimes contaminated groundwater. Agricultural production declined significantly in most transition countries after the political changes. Most countries started with privatisation programs to size down the large state farms and co-operatives into small and medium sized farms. At present the use of fertilisers and pesticides is limited by financial factors. It is expected that soon more intensive farming systems will occur. In order to increase agricultural exports to Western Europe the development of organic farming systems is expected to grow. The accession of countries to the EU will further stimulate this process (EEA 1998a, p29). In the period of data available, the agricultural wastewater generation declined in the Baltic States, Romania, Slovenia, Moldova and Russian Federation but increased in others, like Bulgaria, Hungary, and FYRO Macedonia.

Table 7.3: Total wastewater generation in litre per day and capita for Accession countries (AC10), other transition countries and CIS


Total wastewater generation
  1990 1995 1997
Bulgaria 589 451  
Czech Rep. 228 163  
Estonia* 6002 3404  
Hungary 258 225  
Latvia 564 376  
Lithuania 327 343 360
Poland 889 780 707
Romania 927 635  
Slovakia 630    
Slovenia* 417 337  
Other Transition Countries
Croatia 180 159 169

FYRO Macedonia

Rep.of Moldova* 1732 853  
Russia 1441 (for 1992) 1354  
Ukraine   793 (1996) 770
Data for total generation of wastewater are from UN/ECE IEDS,
Population data are from EEA, Statistical Compendium, 1998, for 1998 from the CIA Yearbook website.
Poland: Data from the Polish Statistical Yearbook, 1998.
The data for table 7.3 are calculated from table 7.2
Note: *Estonia and Moldova: the data cover also cooling and mining waters.


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