Surface waters: 12 new controlled chemicals, three pharmaceuticals on watch list

The WFD has been the EU’s main water policy instrument for setting anti-pollution strategies, including measures progressively to reduce or phase out emissions of chemicals listed as priority substances.

  • EQS determine the maximum concentration of a particular pollutant or group of pollutants in water, sediment (any material which is carried by water and settles to the bottom) or biota (all living organisms in an area) which should not be exceeded in order to protect human health and the environment.
  • EQS levels are to be met by member states through river basin management plans.

Twelve new substances will be added to the EU priority list of those known to pose a pollution risk to surface waters under rules endorsed by MEPs on on 2 July 2013. For the first time, three pharmaceuticals will also be included in a “watch list” of emerging pollutants that could one day be placed on the priority list.

  • The rules voted on amend the 2000 Water Framework Directive (WFD) and its “daughter” directive on the environmental quality standards.
  • For newly-identified substances, the maximum permitted concentrations in water set in the EQS will take effect in 2018, with the aim of achieving good chemical status for these substances by 2027.
  • To this end, EU member states are required to submit supplementary programmes of measures and monitoring programmes to the Commission by 2018.

Revised EQS for existing substances are to be included in River Basin Management Plans in 2015, with the aim of achieving good surface water chemical status for these substances by 2021.

Priority pollutants are listed in the annex of the adopted text.

DIRECTIVE 2013/…/EU OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL amending Directives 2000/60/EC and 2008/105/EC as regards priority substances in the field of water policy  
European Parliament News

ECOS Environmental Consultants Limited