Environment protection is the
assembly of regulations, measures and actions with the purpose of
maintaining, protecting and improving the natural environment
conditions, as well as the reduction or elimination, where possible, of
environment pollution and pollution sources.

Environment legislation in our country (Emergency Ordinance no.
195/2005 regarding the environment protection) defines pollution as the
direct or indirect introduction of a pollutant which prejudices human
health and/or environment quality, can damage material goods or impair
or prevent the use of environment for recreational purposes or other
legitimate purposes.

Environment protection is one of the most important concern of the
present day society aware that it cannot further develop in a manner
which is detrimental to the environment.

The “polluter pays” principle is the concept that the polluter must
pay for the pollution caused to the environment. Payment may include
material, financial, ethical, esthetical, social or legal liabilities.

The industrial polluter is in an anti-environment position, having to
bear the consequences of incompliance with the legally provided
requirements. This principle establishes not only the polluter’s
obligation to remedy the prejudice, but also to bear the social costs of
pollution, namely all pollution effects, on goods and persons, as well
as on the nature itself, and all these regardless of guilt.

According to environment law, the “polluter pays” principle
establishes the obligation for the polluter to bear the costs of
pollution prevention measures or to pay for damages caused by pollution.

The implementation of this principle at European level has been
achieved by Directive 2004/35/EC regarding the environment
responsibility, transposed into Romanian legislation with GEO no.
68/2007 regarding the environment responsibility with reference to
preventing and restoring the prejudice to the environment.

The principle provides that the polluter bears all costs of pollution
caused by him. However, the principle is economical, not juridical.
This means that the intention is not to punish the polluter, but to
define the economical conditions such as to consider all environmental
costs associated with the polluter’s operations, this leading to a
sustainable development.

The “polluter pays” principle aims to direct the burden of
environment control costs mainly to the polluter, thus ensuring that the
market mechanisms consider such costs and the resources will be
properly allocated in production and consumption.

Anybody causing damage to the environment, dangers or risks is
responsible for avoiding, reducing and mitigating such damages, dangers
or risks. This principle thus establishes responsibility in a broad
sense, including any obligation to comply with legal provisions, up to
bearing the criminal or civil penalties.

The pollution prevention strategy replaces the identification of
solutions for mitigating the effects and is materialised in preventive
actions, retention of pollutants at the source and precaution in
decision making, in order to prevent erroneous interpretations such as
“I pay, therefore I may pollute”.

The principle is applied if the polluters are identified, damages are
measurable and the link between the polluter and the damages is proven.

An economical mechanism ensures that all prejudices related to
environment factors quality will be restored by applying penalties. For
this purpose, requirements have to be met regarding the:

  • Identification of pollution sources;
  • Assessment of monitoring data regarding the pollutant load;
  • Cooperation of all competent institutions;
  • Availability of a proper institutional frame for implementing this principle.

Compania de Apa Somes applies the “polluter pays” principle,
discerning and controlling the potential risks of its customers.
Consequently, additional tariffs are applied for sewerage
collection-treatment services to industries identified as polluters or
potential polluters by discharged waste water, in the area of Cluj
Napoca city, since 2005. The decision no. 187/28.09.2005 of the Cluj
County Council established tariffs differentiated by risk groups for the
industries, enabling Compania de Apa Somes to invoice and penalise by
the service contracts.

As a Regional Operator, Compania de Apa Somes extended the
application of “polluter pays” principle to all subsidiaries, with the
Decision no. 7/22.04.2010 of the Regional Infrastructure Development
Association in the Somes-Tisa hydrographic basin.

Industries within the project area, according to operation fields,
are monitored regarding the pollutant loads in the categories of
physical, general chemical, specific chemical, toxic chemical and highly
toxic chemical indicators.

Consequently, the industries have been classified by Compania de Apa
Somes in two risk groups, based on specific investigations and analyses
performed within the monitoring program, according to procedures, as

  • Risk group I – industries monitored for organic load, pH, TSS (total suspended solids), fat and ammonia nitrate (NH4+);
  • Risk group II – toxic loads, phenols, metals, cyanides, sulphides, pH, TSS, oil, detergents.

This classification does not include the exceeding of maximum allowed
limits provided in NTPA 002/2002, the operator reserving the right to
apply penalties according to laws in force.