Belgium first appeared before the European Court of Justice to defend the country’s record on waste water purification six years ago.
Belgium already has to pay a fine of between three and sixty million Euros, regardless of whether new purification plants are able to be opened quickly.
This is the first time ever that Belgium has been fined for failing to implement EU regulations.
A 1991 EU directive rules that urban areas and towns with a population greater than 10,000 had until 1998 to install basic purification facilities for waste water.
Although there are problems in all three of Belgium’s regions, the situation is worst in Greater Brussels and Wallonia.