an official journal of: published by:
Editor in Chief: RAFFAELLO COSSU

HOW CAUTIOUS SHOULD WE BE? THE ROLE OF THE PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE IN THE REGULATION OF SEWAGE SLUDGE IN SWEDEN

  • Maria Pettersson - Lulea University of Technology, Sweden
  • Oskar Johansson - Faculty of Law, Lulea Tekniska Universitet, Sweden

Share


Released under CC BY-NC-ND

Copyright: © 2022 CISA Publisher


Abstract

Drawing a line between what constitutes a potentially hazardous waste and what is instead a possible resource is complicated. A case in point is the use of sewage sludge, whose use not least in agriculture, has long been subject of debate. In Sweden, the issue has been investigated for possible legislative changes four times in the past decades. The latest of these investigations propose to introduce either a total or a partial ban on agricultural use of sewage sludge. In this paper, the legality of these proposals is analyzed with particular focus on their compatibility with the precautionary principle and the EU principle of free movement of goods and services, using a traditional legal method. The analysis indicates that a partial ban may well be considered proportionate to the risks that the use entails for human health and the environment, whilst a total ban would likely be found in breach of EU law, despite the scope for Member States to take stricter measures than prescribed by secondary legislation.

Keywords


Editorial History

  • Received: 27 Jun 2022
  • Revised: 13 Oct 2022
  • Accepted: 03 Nov 2022
  • Available online: 14 Dec 2022

References

Andersson, P.G. (2015). Slamspridning på åkermark. Fältförsök med kommunalt avloppsslam frå Malmö och Lund under åren 1981–2014. Hushållningssällskapets rapportserie 17. (Available at: http://hushallningssallskapet.se/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/slamrapport-2015.pdf)

Austin, J., (1832). The province of jurisprudence determined. Printed by Richard Taylor, printer to the University of London, Red Lion Court, Fleet Street

Bauer , T., Ekman Burgman, L. Andreas, L., Lagerkvist. A. (2020). Effects on the Different Implementation of Legislation Relating to Sewage Sludge Disposal In the EU. Detritus, 10, (10): 92-99.
DOI 10.31025/2611-4135/2020.13944

Bengtsson, M., & Tillman, A.-M. (2004). Actors and interpretation in an environmental controversy: the Swedish debate on sewage sludge use in agriculture. Resources, Conservation and Recycyling, 42(1), 65-82.
DOI 10.1016/j.resconrec.2004.02.004

Buta, M., Hubeny, J., Zielinski, W., Harnisz, M., Korzeniewska, E. (2021) Sewage sludge in agriculture – the effects of selected chemical pollutants and emerging genetic resistance determinants on the quality of soil and crops – a review. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 214, Article 112070.
DOI 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2021.112070

Butti, L. (2015). The use of science in environmental law. A short critical review of recent Italian litigation. Toxicological & Environmental Chemistry, 98:9, 1067-1078.
DOI 10.1080/02772248.2015.1125902

COM(2000) 1 final: Communication from the Commission of 2 February 2000 on the precautionary principle. [Not published in the Official Journal]

Council Directive 86/278/EEC of 12 June 1986 on the protection of the environment, and in particular of the soil, when sewage sludge is used in agriculture OJ L 181, 4.7.1986, p. 6–12

Council Directive 91/271/EEC of 21 May 1991 concerning urban waste-water treatment OJ L 135, 30.5.1991, p. 40–52

Council Directive 75/442/EEC of 15 July 1975 on waste OJ L 194, 25.7.1975, p. 39–41

Council Directive 2008/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 November 2008 on waste and repealing certain Directives (Text with EEA relevance) OJ L 312, 22.11.2008, p. 3–30

Christodoulou, A. and Stamatelatou, K. (2016). Overview of legislation on sewage sludge management in developed countries worldwide. Water Science & Technology. 73(3), 453-462.
DOI 10.2166//wst.2015.521

Craig, P., and de Búrca, G. (2020), EU Law. Text, Cases, and Materials. Seventh Edition. Oxford University Press, Oxford, United Kingdom. ISBN 978-0-19-885664-1

Fijalkowski, K., Rorat, A., Grobelak, Al, Kacprzak, M.J. (2017), The presence of contaminations in sewage sludge – The current situation. Journal of Environmental Management, Volume 203, 1126-1136.
DOI 10.1016/j.jenvman.2017.05.068

Gianico, A.; Braguglia, C.M.; Gallipoli, A.; Montecchio, D.; Mininni, G. (2021) Land Application of Biosolids in Europe: Possibilities, Con-Straints and Future Perspectives. Water, 13(1), 103.
DOI 10.3390/w13010103

Hart, H.L.A., (1961). The concept of law, 2nd ed. 1994. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Hettne, J., & Otken Eriksson, I. (2011). EU-rättslig metod - Teori och genomslag i svensk rättstillämpning. Norstedts Juridik AB

Hushållningssällskapet (2021). Slamtillförsel på åkermark. Slamrapport 2015-2018. (Available at: https://hushallningssallskapet.se/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/slamrapport-2020-rev-2021.pdf)

Kelsen, H. (1941). The Pure Theory of Law and Analytical Jurisprudence. Harvard Law Review, 55(1), 44–70.
DOI 10.2307/1334739

Lang, A. (2020). Proportionality Analysis by the German Federal Constitutional Court. In M. Kremnitzer, T. Steiner, & A. Lang (Eds.), Proportionality in Action: Comparative and Empirical Perspectives on the Judicial Practice (Cambridge Studies in Constitutional Law, pp. 22-133). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
DOI 10.1017/9781108596268.004

Lamastra, Lucrezia & Suciu, Nicoleta & Trevisan, Marco. (2018). Sewage sludge for sustainable agriculture: Contaminants’ contents and potential use as fertilizer. Chemical and Biological Technologies in Agriculture. 5(1).
DOI 10.1186/s40538-018-0122-3

Lu, Q., He, Z.L, and Stoffella, P.J. (2012). Land Application of Biosolids in the USA: A Review. Applied and Environmental Soil Science. 12. 11.
DOI 10.1155/2012/201462

de S. -O. -L'E Lasser, M. (2009) Judicial Deliberations - A Comparative Analysis of Transparency and Legitimacy, Oxford University Press

Naturvårdsverket (2016). NFS 2016:6. Naturvårdsverkets föreskrifter om rening och kontroll av utsläpp av avloppsvatten från tätbebyggelse

Ordinance 1998:944 on prohibition, etc. in some cases in connection with the handling, import and export of chemical products. (F 1998:944 om förbud m.m. i vissa fall i samband med hantering, införsel och utförsel av kemiska produkter)

Pettersson, M. and Goytia, S. (2016) The role of the precautionary principle and property rights in the governance of natural resources in Sweden. Nordic Environmental Law Journal, 2016:1, 107-121. (Available at https://nordiskmiljoratt.se/onewebmedia/NMT%201%202016,%2010%20maj%20Pettersson,Goytia.pdf)

Regeringskansliet, 2020. Remiss M2020/00078/Ke, 2020-02-25. https://www.regeringen.se/4947de/contentassets/424d340de05243668c641e3915c7628e/remissmissiv.pdf

Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures, amending and repealing Directives 67/548/EEC and 1999/45/EC, and amending Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 (REACH)

Regulation (EU) No 1143/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2014 on the prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species

Rentto, J.P., (1996). Rättsfilosofi, rättsteori, rättslära, rättsvetenskap? Hårklyverier och gränsdragningar, Retfærd nr. 19(4), 3–16

Science for Environmental Policy (2017) The Precautionary Principle: decision making under uncertainty. Future Brief 18. Produced for the European Commission DG Environment by the Science Communication Unit, UWE, Bristol. (Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/science-environment-policy)

Svenska Naturvårdsverkets Författningssamling (1994). SNFS 1994:2 Kungörelse med föreskrifter om skydd för miljön, särksilt marken, när avlopsslam används i jordbruket

Statens Offentliga Utredningar (SOU) 2020:3 Sustainable Sludge Management. (Hållbar slamhantering)

Statistical Office of the European Communities. (2022). EUROSTAT: Sewage sludge production and disposal. Luxembourg: Eurostat (Available at: https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/databrowser/view/ENV_WW_SPD__custom_333452/default/bar?lang=en last visited at 2022-06-27)

Statistical Office of the European Communities. (2022). EUROSTAT: EU trade since 1988 by HS2-4-6 and CN8. Luxembourg: Eurostat (https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/databrowser/view/DS-045409__custom_2944682/default/table last visited at 2022-06-27)

Svenskt Vatten (2016) Svenskt Vattens synpunkter på Europeiska kommissionens förslag (COM(2015) 614/2 till meddelande om en cirkulär ekonomi. (Available at https://www.svensktvatten.se/politik-paverkan/remisser/remisser-avlopp-och-miljo/svenskt-vattens-synpunkter-pa-europeiska-kommissionens-forslag-com2015-6142-till-meddelande-om-cirkular-ekonomi/, last visited 2022-06-27)

Svinhufvud, K. (2017). Phosphorus: Strategies and Reuse Initatives in Sweden. (Naturvårdsverket, Ed.) Vilnius

Swedish Instrument of Government. (Regeringsformen (1974:152))

Swedish Environmental Code.(Miljöbalken (1998:808))

Treaty of the European Union OJ C 326 , 26/10/2012 P. 0001 – 0390

Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, OJ C 326, 26.10.2012, p. 47–390

United Nations (1992). Rio Declaration on Environment and Development

United Nations (1992). United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

United Nations (1992). Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

United Nations. (2009, June 15). Global Atlas of Excreta Wastewater Sludge, and Biosolids Management: Moving Forward the Sustainable and Welcome Uses of a Global Resource (Local Economic Development Series)

United Nations (1982). World Charter for Nature

Wingspread Statement on the Precautionary Principle (1998)

The WTO Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement) (1995)

Youshida, H., ten Hoeve, M., Christensen, T.H., Bruun, S., Jensen, L.S., Sheutz, C. (2018). Life cycle assessment of sewage sludge management: A review. Journal of Cleaner Production. 174. 538-547.
DOI 10.1016/j.jclepro.2017.10.175


october
9