The Environment Agency sets permit limits for sewage works discharges to meet the Environmental Quality Standards required by the Water Framework Directive, as set out in supporting Directions from the Secretary of State. This includes the standards for phosphorus.
There has been considerable investment by water companies in phosphorus removal across the country. In order to meet the new standards, water companies propose further programmes of innovation in their business plans for 2015 to 2020, to optimise the performance of these plants and also to trial novel techniques. This will inform their investment decisions on the appropriate technology to achieve the Environmental Quality Standards.