Questions about funding
No, the increase in fees is proportionate because the additional costs of the measures in WWTP correspond to about 6% of the current total costs for wastewater disposal.
All central WWTPs in Switzerland have been paying an annual fee of CHF 9 per connected resident into a fund since 1 January 2016 (limited until 2040). This covers 75% of the initial investment for additional treatment stages. After the expansion, the WWTPs will have to bear higher operating costs and are therefore exempt from the fee. Generally, the additional operating costs are likely to be higher than the wastewater fee.
In theory, the polluter-pays principle could be well covered by a fee for products containing problematic substances. However, a more detailed analysis has shown that even an approximate consideration of the large number of potentially relevant products and their problematic constituents would require a disproportionately large effort in terms of enforcement. In order to ensure that the polluter pays, a nationwide wastewater fee was therefore introduced to finance measures at WWTPs to abate organic micropollutants.
In the past, it was examined whether the industrial companies should make a direct contribution, e.g. through area-wide expansions or financially through a fee for products. This was rejected due to the poor cost/benefit ratio and insufficient polluter-pays equity. Today, however, industrial companies make an indirect financial contribution to micropollutant abatement. Like every household, industrial companies must contribute financially to the additional costs of wastewater treatment via the fees if the fee is charged based on the existing operating costdivider (according to the recommendation by the Verband Schweizer Abwasser- und Gewässerschutzfachleute [VSA] and the Organisation Kommunale Infrastruktur [OKI]). This corresponds to the solidarity principle. Large emitters of individual micropollutants can also be obliged to treat their waste water separately: According to current law, industrial wastewater must be treated with state-of-the-art technology to prevent water pollution.