Shared history of water supply and sanitation in Finland and Sweden, 1860–2000
Sweden and Finland have a long joint history separated in 1809 when Finland became an autonomous Grand Dutchy under the Russian Tsar. The water service sector started developing in urban areas during the latter part of the 19th century. The similarities and differences between Finland and Sweden in the water and wastewater services evolution are described. In a questionnaire, 28 water experts from Finland and Sweden assessed the most important long-term strategic decisions in the sector in the two countries concerning the overall development.
In Finland, the most important change came with the Water Act of 1962. It allowed for the first time water pollution control of wastewater discharge from industry and municipalities. Polluters were forced to apply for permit for requiring treatment and allowing for discharging their wastewaters. The most important change in Sweden was when the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency was started in 1968. The Swedish EPA was the first national authority in the world to have a direct responsibility for environmental protection in a broad perspective, and not only in nature conservation. Other policy, economic, social, technological, ecological and legal dimensions are also compared and discussed.