In the 1990s water quality protection was underdeveloped in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) compared to EU 15 countries in most indicators. After the CEE countries joined the EU, all of them started to invest significant amounts to implement the requirements of EU water policies in the field of waste water collection and treatment, where efficient use of resources was function of several factors. In Hungary, a new National Sewerage and Waste Water Treatment Strategy was elaborated, which predicted that during the subsequent decade, the amount of sludge produced at waste water treatment plants would increase significantly. Environmental impacts and economical deposition of the increased amount of sludge have not been investigated in the Strategy.
The paper presents an investigation, which was carried out with the application of a newly developed GIS based decision support methodology to identify suitable agricultural areas for deposition of the predicted increased amount of sludge taking into consideration multi-criteria hydrological, environmental, technical, economic and societal conditions that are all important in regional water resources management. The investigation included the entire territory of Hungary. It was concluded that only 25% of the agglomerations indentified in the Strategy has actually enough agricultural land for sludge utilization or other word: placement. This fact influences the investment and upgrading programmes of the waste water treatment plants in the future.