Priority substances (and priority hazardous substances) sector contributions

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  • Published: September 2014
  • REF/ISBN: 9780852937006
  • Edition: 1st
  • Status: New

The Water Framework Directive (WFD, 2000/60/EC) requires integrated management of groundwater and surface water at a European level. Each member country of the European Union (EU) has been required to produce a river basin management plan (RBMP) for each river basin area within the country, which outlines the current status of waters, objectives for the improvement of water quality, and a timetable for action, with an update cycle of every six years. The first cycle will end in 2015 when, following further planning and consultation, the current reports will be updated.

The Priority Substances Directive (2008/105/EC) is a daughter directive of the WFD, and identifies a list of Priority Substances (PS) and Priority Hazardous Substances (PHS) in Annex II which pose a threat to the aquatic environment. Measured concentrations of PS and PHS, alongside a further eight ‘other pollutants’, at defined locations throughout each river basin are used to evaluate the chemical status of surface water bodies. A different list of pollutants is used to assess the chemical status of groundwater, identified within the Groundwater Daughter Directive (2006/118/EC).

The data gathered during the first cycle of the WFD are currently being evaluated by the Environment Agency of England and Wales (EA) and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA). This includes an evaluation as to whether failure to achieve the required status in water bodies is directly or indirectly linked to the emission (permitted or unpermitted) of PS or PHS. The EI is interested to establish whether permitted emissions of PS or PHS to surface water from eight oil refineries located throughout England, Wales and Scotland could be identified as a specific pressure on the status of water bodies, potentially resulting in requirement by the EA, NRW or SEPA for reduced emissions in the future.

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