New Priority Substances added to list for Surface Waters by Nick Boley

The European Parliament has approved the addition of 12 new priority substances (PS) to the list of substances known to be a pollution risk in surface waters in Europe.

Under the Water Framework Directive (WFD), which aims to improve the quality of EU water bodies, member states are required to conduct monitoring for all 45 priority substances on the list, many at very low concentrations. The maximum concentrations (EQSs, or Environmental Quality Standards) for the new PSs are much lower. Revised EQS values for the existing 33 PSs will be developed for 2015.

The new PS are:

  • Dicofol
  • Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid and its derivatives (PFOS)
  • Quinoxyfen
  • Dioxins and dioxin-like compounds
  • Aclonifen
  • Bifenox
  • Cybutryne
  • Cypermethrin
  • Dichlorvos
  • Hexabromocyclododecanes (HBCDD)
  • Heptachlor and Heptachlor epoxide
  • Terbutryn

In addition, 3 substances – the pharmaceuticals E2, EE2 and diclofenac – have been placed on the “watch list”, with the European Commission asked to develop a strategic approach to the risks they pose. The UK was in the vanguard of persuading the Commission to downgrade these three items from the PS list to the watch list on the basis of the cost of their removal from water supplies. These substances enter the water supply mainly through the domestic drainage system as they arise fr0m some of the most widely-taken pharmaceuticals in the UK.

Measurement of these substances in water at the extremely low levels specified by the Regulations, is very challenging. It is the responsibility of member states to develop and apply analytical procedures in order to monitor the quality of surface waters under the WFD. Effective implementation of the Regulations is, of course, dependent on the ability to measure these substances accurately and precisely.


1 Comment so far
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Thanks for a clear explanation of how changes to the WFD could affect analysts. Labs may need a practical target date for their readiness to support implementation.

I don’t see the UK as being in the vanguard if she holds back the control and monitoring of substances after they have been prioritised on a risk basis!

Comment by John

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