ROUNDTABLE "BEST AVAILABLE TECHNOLOGIES - ACHIEVEMENTS AND PROSPECTS OF RUSSIAN ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATION IN THE FIELD OF WATER RESOURCES"
On 13 December 2017, a roundtable "Best available technologies - achievements and prospects of Russian environmental regulation in the field of water resources" was held as part of the 5th All-Russia Congress on Environmental Protection.
Elena Dovlatova, Moderator, CEO, Russian Association of Water Supply and Sanitation, opened the proceedings by calling on the participants to find an answer to an important question, “Are we ready to switch to the new water requirements under Federal Law FZ-219 of July 21, 2014 ‘On Environmental Protection’?”
Best available technologies (BAT) are a new format for government regulations intended to improve facilities for preliminary water treatment. Yet the Congress participants mentioned that legal instruments determining the procedure for obtaining a comprehensive environmental permit (CEP) certifying a particular enterprise’s transition to BAT have not yet come into force. The process of issuing CEP should be transparent and democratic, this raising the problem of using reference books on standards.
The participants stated that sewage is the main source of pollution in their cities. Moscow and St Petersburg held business games practicing issue of CEP for treating city sewage. Today, 13 different documents have to be submitted to obtain a CEP.
Speakers believe it necessary to form a special expert group at the Ministry for Natural Resources and the Environment of Russia to draft specialized legal instruments and sectoral reference books, since this area thus far lacks trained professionals.
Europe has been travelling along this path for the last 20–25 years. We, on the other hand, will have to work through a huge number of reference books and eliminate discrepancies over the next 5-7 years.
Speakers voiced their concern that an authorized agency to monitor facility status had not yet been appointed. Logically, issue of BAT compliance certificates should be in the purview of the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources (Rosprirodnadzor). New technological standards should be approved already by mid-2018.
The roundtable participants also focused on tightening standards and on lax control of compliance with them. Introduction of new standards should be guided by common sense; progress should be gradual and realistic. Reference books should not include unfeasible requirements and standards. Monitoring should be based on clear and comprehensible rules.
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