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The Sewage Sludge Directive seeks to regulate the use of sewage sludge in such a way as to prevent harmful effects on soil, vegetation, animals and man and to ensure the appropriate use of sewage sludge in agriculture.
In the EU the use of sewage sludge as fertiliser on soils in agriculture is based on the Council Directive of 12 June 1986 on the protection of the environment, and in particular of the soil, when sewage sludge is used in agriculture (86/278/EEC). Every three years EU member states are obliged to submit a report to the EU Commission on the national implementation of the Sewage Sludge Directive (Article 5 of the Council Directive of 23 December 1991 standardizing and rationalizing reports on the implementation of certain Directives relating to the environment (91/692/EEC)). The current reporting period covers sewage sludge data from 2004 to 2006.