Wastewater Management - an overview

07 Dec.,2022


containerized wastewater treatment plants

Reconstructing historical environmental goods and services sector accounts for Sweden

Similar to how traditional consumption is classified in the National Accounts, environmental protection activities are classified according to their main purpose in a system called the Classification of Environmental Protection Activities (CEPA), whereas resource management activities are classified according to the Classification of Resource Management Activities (CReMA). Table 1.1 provides an overview of CEPA including comments on the historical data availability from 1970.

Table 1.1. Classification of environmental protection activities and historical data availability.

CodeActivityDescriptionHistorical data availability from 1970CEPA 1Protection of ambient air and climateActivities aimed at the reduction of emissions into the air including control of emissions of greenhouse gases and ozone-depleting gasesEmbedded in manufacturing industry environmental investments. Certain government programs. Carbon, sulfur, and NOx tax?CEPA 2Wastewater managementPrevention of pollution of surface water. Includes the collection and treatment of wastewater including monitoring and regulation activities
WaterNational Accounts NA SNR 4410
Will include water works. Will not include activities outside SNR 4410, including manufacturing industry environmental investmentCEPA 3Waste managementCollection and treatment of waste, including monitoring and regulation activities. It also includes recycling and composting, the collection and treatment of low-level radioactive waste, street cleaning, and the collection of public litterNational Accounts SNR 9200 Sanitary and similar services, except sewage disposalCEPA 4Protection and remediation of soil, groundwater, and surface waterMeasures and activities aimed at the prevention of pollutant infiltration, cleaning up of soils and water bodies.Investments in mining dams: mining company records. Activities against acidification of lakes and forests from 1977. Post in the government budgetCEPA 5Noise and vibration abatementActivities aimed at the control, reduction, and abatement of industrial and transport noise and vibrationPartly embedded in manufacturing industry environmental investmentsCEPA 6Protection of biodiversity and landscapeActivities aimed at the protection and rehabilitation of fauna and flora species, ecosystems, and habitatsPost in the Government budgetCEPA 7Protection against radiationActivities and measures aimed at the reduction or elimination of the negative consequences of radiation emitted from any source. Included is the handling, transportation, and treatment of high-level radioactive wasteBudget for the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority and until 2008 the Swedish Nuclear Power inspectorate. Activity of the Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company, payments from the Nuclear Waste Fund (established in 1982)CEPA 8Research and development (R&D)R&D activities and expenditure oriented toward environmental protectionGovernment supported R&D as stated in the Government budget

Note: SNR is Statistics Sweden's classification of industrial activities.

The message is that it is possible to arrive at historical reconstructions by piecing together information from different types of sources. From 1969 onward, the government undertook occasional investigations of the environmental investments in mining and manufacturing industries. These investigations were not supported by a formalized accounting framework and can therefore not be considered as fully comprehensive. For instance, the investigation aimed at estimating investments in existing facilities, which means that investments in capacity-enhancing projects, which often used superior environmental technology, were only estimated indirectly. This implies that the investigations are biased toward end-of-pipe type of solutions and are to be seen as lower-bound estimates of the true environmental investments. Still, these investigations are the only aggregated information available on early environmental protection activities by the Swedish business life. The early investigations do not separate between air and water protection activities, which means that these activities probably must be aggregated in the historical environmental accounts.

CEPA 2, “Wastewater management,” can be approximated by using national accounting data for SNR 4410 (water works and supply, including sewage disposal).2 Wastewater management that was part of industrial processes is not included in the sector but would be embedded in the environmental investments and running expenditures of the mining and manufacturing industries. Furthermore, “wastewater management” underwent significant improvement with regard to the technologies used already from the 1970s onward. The additional cost of improved technology is, however, embedded in the aggregated data for the sector and does not therefore constitute a major accounting problem. SNR 4410 does, however, also include water supply and not only sewage treatment and disposal, SNI 90001, for which data have not been collected separately.

CEPA 3, “Waste management,” is also captured in the national accounting data for the sector SNR 9200. Again, it is not directly possible to quantify quality improvements. Waste disposal has, for instance, evolved from a very high share of deposition on garbage dumps in the early 1970s to a high degree of recycling during the 2000s. Waste management services are usually provided by firms within the sector and more seldom as activities within other sectors. SNR 9200 can therefore be expected to capture most water management activities.

Data for CEPA 4, “Measures and activities aimed at the prevention of pollutant infiltration, cleaning up of soils and water bodies,” are not recorded separately in the available statistics. Instead, indirect sources of information are necessary. Probably, one of the largest forms of activities in Sweden includes the construction of dams to prevent leakage from mines. These investments can be collected from the leading mining companies, Boldien and LKAB, but are not estimated for this chapter. A second major undertaking was the program to counteract acidification of lakes. This was a government program in 1977, for which data are included in the government budget.

CEPA 5, “Noise and vibration abatement,” is another category for which no data have been collected historically. Some investment may be included in the general environmental investments in mining and manufacturing industries. There are no attempts to reconstruct CEPA 5 in this chapter.

CEPA 6, “Protection of biodiversity and landscape,” has been a specific post in the government budget since the 1970s. This includes expenditure for the acquisition and management of ecologically valuable land and biotopes. Costs for protection of biodiversity and landscape carried by, for instance, forest companies and NGOs have not been estimated for this chapter.

CEPA 7, “Protection against radiation,” has, in Sweden, mainly been the responsibility of the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, whose activities have mainly focused on regulation, surveillance, and activities related to the prevention of technological hazards in nuclear plants. Of these, prevention of technological hazards should not be included in CEPA 7. Still, as it is impossible to separate this activity from the ones supposed to be part of CEMA 7, we have include all the activities of the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority in CEPA 7. Actual handling, transportation, and treatment of high level radioactive waste have been undertaken by SKB, the Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company, which should be fully included in CEPA 7. Another source of information is the Nuclear Waste Fund, which has financed activities related to protection against radiation since 1982.

To start with, CEPA 8, “Research and development,” may be embedded in traditional government-funded research and business financed R&D, which makes it close to impossible to account for the true expenditures. In this chapter, we therefore only estimate expenditure on R&D activities, which were financed through specific government-funded research programs on environmental issues. The CEPA 8 is therefore a lower bound estimate. Table 1.2 shows a corresponding overview of the Classification of Resource Management Activities (CREMA), along with brief comments on how historical reconstructions may be performed.

Table 1.2. The CREMA classification of resource management activities.

CodeActivityDescriptionSourcesCREMA 10Management of water. Minimization of inland waters intakeActivities aimed at the minimization of inland waters intakeNot relevant in a Swedish contextCREMA 11aManagement of forest areasReplenishment activities or development of new forest areas, raining, and information and general administration activities. Activities concerning the protection and restoration of forests as habitats, ecosystems, and landscapes are excludedReplenishment activities are recorded in the official forest statics and are used for estimates of the activityCREMA 11bMinimization of the intake of forest resourcesReduction of the intake through in-process modifications related to the reduction of the input of timber resources for the production processIt is part of the ongoing activities in the industry and is not accounted for separatelyCREMA 12Management of wild flora and faunaActivities aimed at the minimization of the intake of wild flora and faunaIncluded under CEPA 6CREMA 13aProduction of energy from renewable sourcesRenewable (nonfossil) energy includes wind, solar, aerothermal, geothermal, hydrothermal and ocean energy, hydropower, biomass, landfill gas, sewage treatment plant gas, and biogasesEnergy statistics in combination market prices are used to estimate the activityCREMA 13bHeat/energy saving and managementenergy recovery from nonrenewable sources (e.g., nonbiodegradable waste)Data on energy production from waste. Some government programs aiming at energy savingCREMA 13cMinimization of the intake of fossil energy resources for other usesActivities aiming at the minimization of the intake of fossil energy resources for uses other than energy productionNo historical estimates are done for CREMA 13CREMA 14Management of mineralsActivities aiming at reducing the use of mineral resources. Recycling of scrap metalsIt is part of the ongoing activities in the industry and is not accounted for separately, apart from Recycling of scrap metalsCREMA 15Research and development activities for natural resource managementR&D for renewable energy, for energy and minerals savings, for timber and other biological resources savings and so forthSome government programs aiming at energy saving

Source: EUROSTAT, 2016. Environmental Goods and Service Sector Accounts. Practical Guide. 2016 Edition. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union; EUROSTAT, 2017. Environmental Protection Expenditure Accounts. 2017 Edition. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.

Management of water, which focuses on various measures to reduce inland water intake, is not relevant in the Swedish context, since the issue does not pose a major problem due to hydrological conditions. CREMA 11a, dealing with management of forest areas is, however, of major importance, and the official forest statistics include comprehensive statistics on expenditures for replenishment activities. Minimization of the intake of forest resources (CREMA 11b) is more difficult, since it deals with efficiency and productivity issues that are, normally, part of the ongoing innovation process in the forest industry (Söderholm and Bergquist, 2013). For this reason, estimates of CREMA 11b have not been undertaken. Activities aimed at the minimization of the intake of wild flora and fauna have not been a substantial activity. Due the limited size of the sector, we have not estimated data.

Heat/energy saving and management in CREMA 12 mainly focuses on energy recycling from garbage and waste. Here, the official data are comprehensive from 1990, noticing that the ban on landfills was introduced in 1998. Production of energy from renewable sources (CREMA 13a) includes hydropower, wind power, and biofuels. The estimates for the sector depart from energy statistics and price data. Heat/energy saving and management in CREMA 13b mainly focuses on energy recycling from garbage and waste for which data are available from 1990. CREMA 13c focuses on activities aiming at the minimization of the intake of fossil energy resources for uses other than energy production, which is a small sector in Sweden, and is therefore not estimated.