The proposed decree raises to 131 the number of bodies of water eutrophicated or at risk of eutrophication
The Butlletí Oficial de les Illes Balears (BOIB), has published, the announcement of the beginning of the public exhibition of the draft decree by which the Decree 49/2003, of May 9, by which the sensitive areas of the Balearic Islands are declared. Interested parties have 20 days to submit their comments.
Directive 91/271/EEC of 21 May on urban wastewater treatment lays down the necessary measures that Member States must take to ensure that urban waste water is adequately treated before discharge. One of the obligations it lays down is to provide for wastewater to be treated differently according to the characteristics of the receiving environment. Thus, it requires Member States to identify sensitive areas according to criteria of actual or potential eutrophication, whether they are intended for drinking water consumption or for compliance with other Directives. In these sensitive areas, the requirements for wastewater discharges will be stricter.
The Government of the Balearic Islands published Decree 49/2003 of 9 May 2003, declaring the sensitive areas of the Balearic Islands. The revision of the sensitive areas has involved updating the criteria for determining them, the mapping of these areas and the identification and mapping of their catchment areas.
Thus, according to current legislation, a water body is considered to be a sensitive area if it can be included in any of the following groups:
(a) Lakes, lagoons, reservoirs, estuaries and maritime waters that are eutrophic or could become so in the near future if protection measures are not taken.
(b) Inland surface waters intended for the abstraction of drinking water which may contain a concentration of nitrates in excess of 50 mg/l.
c) Bodies of water where treatment in addition to the secondary treatment provided for in Article 5 of Royal Decree Law 11/1995 and Royal Decree 509/1996 is necessary in order to comply with Community legislation.
The current Decree declared a total of 127 sensitive areas; 56 type A, 2 type B, 83 type C and all wetlands sensitive to eutrophication in the Balearic Islands. Now, the proposal for revision of the Decree declares a total of 131 sensitive areas; 125 sensitive areas of type A, 2 of type B and 104 of type C. It should be borne in mind that in this proposal the same sensitive area may be in more than one group (A, B, C) and, therefore, the sum of the groups may result in a value higher than the total number of sensitive areas in the Balearic Islands.