€3m in flood damage to wastewater plants

Flooding in Luxembourg on 14 and 15 July caused upwards of €3m in damage to wastewater plants Photo: Matic Zorman / Maison Moderne

Flooding in Luxembourg on 14 and 15 July caused upwards of €3m in damage to wastewater plants Photo: Matic Zorman / Maison Moderne

Wastewater plants in Luxembourg suffered more than €3m in damage during the July floods and will take weeks to repair, environment minister Carole Dieschbourg has said.

The grand duchy experienced unprecedented flooding on 14 and 15 July, with the government declaring the torrential rainfall, which caused at least €120m in damage, a natural disaster.

The floods also affected wastewater treatment plants in the country, Dieschbourg (Déi Gréng) confirmed in answer to a parliamentary question on Tuesday. The plant in Bettembourg was flooded and had to be halted for several hours during the night from 14 to 15 July.

In Echternach, one of the towns where flooding was most severe, the local wastewater plant’s electrical installations were largely destroyed. Emergency repairs allowed the plant to resume operating on 20 July but repairs will cost around €2m in total, Dieschbourg said.

Repairs to the Rosport and Moesdorf wasterwater plants will cost around €500,000 each, the minister said. This does not include damage to other parts of the network, such as pumps or retention basins.

Plant operators are still assessing the full extent of the damage, Dieschbourg said, with the damage cost just representing preliminary estimates. The government will make the necessary funds for the repairs available to communes where the affected wastewater plants are located.

The European Court of Justice in 2013 fined Luxembourg a lump sum of €2m for violating EU wastewater regulation and another €2,800 per day until full compliance.

The court imposed the fine after finding Luxembourg non-compliant with the urban wastewater directive in 2006 and the grand duchy failed to bring all its plants up to speed within the following six years. A series of upgrades has since been launched and is still ongoing.

Public works and transport minister François Bausch (Déi Gréng) earlier this month said that around a third of Luxembourg’s 217 bridges had to be cleaned or repaired following the floods.