Wroblewska, Drzewiecki, Kwietniewski
# 2006 Washington DC
The last fifteen years have brought to Poland significant political and economic changes. The accession to the European Union appeared the biggest challenge due to the need to adjust Poland to higher European standards in law, agriculture, education, finance etc. One of the most financially neglected areas, where the civilization gap between the EU and Poland became evident, was environmental protection including the condition of underground infrastructure, water supply, sewage disposal and air protection.
The condition of underground infrastructure in Poland left a lot to be desired. In comparison with Western Europe water, sewer and gas pipelines were underdeveloped and both the materials applied so far and the workmanship were of poor quality.
The crucial moment for the significant grow in municipal investments occurred two years before the accession to the EU. Owing to the availability of the pre-accession funds (ISPA, PHARE, SAPARD) and the prospects of taking advantage of structural and cohesion funds, comprehensive rehabilitation projects were implemented which included both building new pipelines and rehabilitation of the existing ones.
The undisputable pioneer and leader in this field is Bydgoszcz, the ninth largest city in Poland (400,000 inhabitants). As early as five years ago the Bydgoszcz Waterworks worked out a comprehensive program of modernisation and development of water and sewerage infrastructure. The programme, scheduled to be completed by the end of 2013, is now under way and is financially supported by European sources and own funds. Among the materials applied to building new and renovating old pipelines, it is plastic that plays a major role.