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Water Framework Directive and chemical pollution - A database on ”priority substances”

Published April 2011

(The News N° 21 - January 2011)

IOWater, associated with INE RIS, has been providing for 5 years technical assistance to the DG Environment of the European Union for the implementation of the Water Framework Directive (WFD).
This mission should lead to a revision of the list of "priority substances" of the WFD and to fixing the concentrations to comply with in rivers.

In this context, IOWater created a database gathering 15 million of recent water analyses made in the surface waters of 28 countries.

After defining the data to be collected, creating the tools to make this collection and process the received data, IOWater created a website for information on the contents of the new database.

Year 2010 was devoted to processing these data to enable experts from different European countries to decide whether the evidence is sufficient to register the substances on the list to be proposed to the European Parliament in January 2011.

A lot of expertise work and quality analyses of these data were also done to guarantee the relevance of the experts’ conclusions on chemical substances.

This work has shown the particular strengths and weaknesses of current systems for monitoring the quality of surface waters: underrepresentation of lakes and coastal and transitional waters, incomplete geographic refe - rencing, data storage to be changed. It also confirmed the relevance of the approaches selected in the Daughter Directive on Environmental Quality Standards (2008/105/EC) regarding data quality.



Data for more than 1,100 substances

(The News N° 17 - February 2010)

IOWater, associated with INERIS, has been retained by the DG Environment of the European Commission for a 4-year technical assistance to the application of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) to chemical pollutants. This assignment must lead to a revision of the list of the WFD “priority substances” and set the concentrations to be complied with in the rivers.

In order to define the revised list of substances, the choice was made of a combined approach using the data of the environ - mental follow-up, and a modeling led by the Joint Research Center (JRC).

To be able to use the follow-up data, it was necessary to collect the results available in each country.

IOWater was in charge of the whole collection chain, from the definition of what must be collected up to the creation of the central base which gathers the data and makes the calculations necessary for defi - ning a revised list.

Only the recent data on concentrations in surface water of all the potentially dange - rous chemical substances available in the 27 Member States of the European Union and associated countries were retained, with information such as the localization of the station or the determination limit of the analysis.

Until now, European collection had gathered data describing the measurement networks or summary reports, never any individual result of analysis.

For the first time in Europe, 15 million analyses on 1,100 substances sought in surface water of 28 European countries were gathered: a database, unique in its kind, was thus created!

These data allowed defining a first list of substances to be priority treated or eliminated to protect water and users. So that each country can check the relevance of the list of the selected substances, a website was created for the national Authorities. It includes a synthetic sheet for each substance with statistical elements on the number of analyses and their spatial and temporal distribution and a map with the localization of the measuring stations.



What concentration in which basin?

(The News N° 16 - December 2008)

IOWater, associated with INERIS, was selected to provide a 3-year technical assistance to the DG Environment of the European Commission (2005-2008). This contract was renewed this summer for a new 3-year period (2009-2011). This mission should lead to a revision of the list of priority substances of the Water Framework Directive (WFD).

Within this framework, one of the very first collections of data on the follow-up of dangerous substances in the environments on a European scale was completed by IOWater. Upon the request of the Water Unit of the Directorate-General Environment, IOWater gathered about 6 million official analyses on the chemical substances which are a problem or a potential problem and found in water in the various European basins between 2000 and 2006.

The database thus created covers 26 countries including 24 Member States and concerns about 900 substances.
The base is built so that each analysis can be located on a map by the position of the measurement point. It should be used for selecting the future priority substances to be recorded in the list appended to the Water Framework Directive (appendix X of the 2000/60/EC Directive). The collection should continue during the coming years to adapt the list to the evolutions noticed in the environments. The base views what will be included in the European WISE information system. It was published on line at the end of 2008.



¿Qué concentraciones en qué cuenca?

(Las Noticias N° 12 - Enero de 2009)


La OIAgua, asociada al INERIS, se eligió para dar, durante 3 años, un apoyo técnico a la DG Medio Ambiente de la Comisión Europea (2005-2008). Este contrato se renovó este verano para un nuevo período de 3 años (2009-2011). Esta misión debe conducir a una revisión de la lista de las sustancias prioritarias de la Directiva Marco del Agua (DMA).

En este marco, una de las primeras recogidas de datos de seguimiento de las sustancias peligrosas en los medios acaba de ser realizada por la OIAgua a escala europea. A petición de la Unidad Agua de la Dirección General del Medio Ambiente, la OIAgua reunió cerca de 6 millones de análisis oficiales sobre las sustancias químicas problemáticas o potencialmente problemáticas encontradas en el agua en las varias cuencas europeas entre 2000 y 2006.

La base de datos así creada cubre 26 países, incluso 24 Estados Miembros, y concierne cerca de 900 sustancias.
La base se construye de tal modo que cada análisis pueda ser localizado en un mapa con la posición del punto de medición. Debe utilizarse para seleccionar las futuras sustancias llamadas “prioritarias” que deben inscribirse en la lista anexada a la Directiva Marco Agua (Anexo X de la Directiva 2000/60/CE). La recogida debería continuarse durante los próximos años para permitir adaptar la lista a las evoluciones constatadas en los medios. La base creada prefigura lo que se incluirá en el sistema de información europeo WISE. Se ha publicado en línea desde a finales de 2008.




See online : www.priority.substances.wfd.oieau.fr