Coastal tourist areas should be classified as environmentally sensitive areas. Effective nutrient control should be implemented to safeguard the quality of receiving waters in these areas. In this context, the applicable discharge limitations are reviewed with specific reference to European directives and criteria developed for small coastal residential areas in Turkey are reported; wastewater characterization and its impact on treatment technology selection is reviewed; appropriate treatment technologies are evaluated in terms of selecting new applications and upgrading and retrofitting existing systems. (C) 1999 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd on behalf of the IAWQ. All rights reserved.