Preparation of the commission s 2011 proposal on priority substances
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Preparation of the Commission’s 2011 proposal on Priority Substances. Water Directors meeting 26-27 May 2011. Jorge Rodriguez Romero Helen Clayton WFD Team DG Environment. Recall of the process. Legal basis: WFD article 16 requiring regular review Work in progress since 2007!

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Preparation of the Commission’s 2011 proposal on Priority Substances

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Preparation of the Commission’s 2011 proposal on Priority Substances

Water Directors meeting

26-27 May 2011

Jorge Rodriguez Romero

Helen Clayton

WFD Team

DG Environment

Recall of the process

Legal basis: WFD article 16 requiring regular review

Work in progress since 2007!

Extensive support from Member States and stakeholder experts along the technical process (thanks!)

Technical Guidance Document significantly expanded – adoption by all MS representatives at the SCG in March (one reservation)

SCHER opinions being finalised for proposed EQS

Extensive consultation on impact assessment with WGE plus other targeted stakeholders – still many data gaps

Commission proposal expected September 2011 covering

Changes to existing EQS and proposal of new substances

Specific problems related to ubiquitous PBTs

Monitoring watch list for EU prioritisation

1. Overview of the options related to substances

2. Ubiquitous PBTs – what is the problem?

Most dangerous chemicals accumulating in sediment and/or biota

Causing risk to aquatic environment and human health

Widespread pollution

Some long-range transboundary pollutants

Many measures have been taken – more planned

REACH should prevent placing on the market new PBTs in the future

Despite heavy regulation it will take decades for these substances to disappear from the aquatic environment

Remediation of hot-spots may be feasible in some cases

2. Ubiquitous PBTs – which substances

Identification of substances that may fall under this heading

Existing PS





New PS

Heptachlor + epoxide




2. Ubiquitous PBTs – what is the WFD role?

Chemical status will deteriorate for the second RBMP!

More stringent EQS for some existing substances

New ubiquitous PBTs

Exemptions will need to be used widely

What can the WFD do to solve these serious environmental problem

Provision of robust information about the extent of the problems – no other mechanism at EU level

Provide a environmental target (the EQS)

Trigger action at local level when feasible

There is limited scope for “WFD measures” – further EU measures need to be taken under other sectoral legislation (REACH, air, waste...)

2. Ubiquitous PBTs – three issues

Presentation of chemical status: Ubiquitous PBTs may bring a negative picture and hide improvements in other substances

Option a: allow separate presentation

Option b: take out from chemical status

Choice of monitoring matrix influences dramatically the results (same environmental situation, different results)

Option a: link choice of matrix to QA/QC Directive

Option b: fix monitoring matrix for each substance

Monitoring effort: default WFD monitoring not tailored for ubiquitous PBTs (in time and scale)

Option a: reduced monitoring obligations if certain conditions met

Option b: reduced monitoring obligations (unconditional)

Improving the knowledge base for future prioritisation exercises: watch list

Tool to develop limited, targeted, high quality monitoring data for the purpose of EU level prioritisation

Address emerging pollutants catch-22

Substances are not regulated... they are not monitored... there is not data available... there is no basis to propose regulation ??

High support from WGE (MS and stakeholders)

Limited number of substances 20-25 monitored in 250-300 stations across the EU

Cost estimates are 3-6%% of the current cost of monitoring for priority substances - high benefit/cost ratio

Options: voluntary or legally binding

Other issues: need to improve comparability of national EQSs

  • Follow-up to be considered in the CIS context

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