Joint NGO analysis of the European Commission’s proposal for revised list of priority substances for surface and groundwater

On 26 October 2022, the European Commission presented its proposal for a Directive amending the Water Framework Directive (WFD 2000/60/EC), the Groundwater Directive (GWD 2006/118/EC) and the Environmental Quality Standards Directive (EQSD 2008/105/EC). The initiative updates the lists of priority substances for surface and groundwater and their associated legal threshold values that are used to assess chemical status under the WFD. It also concerns monitoring and reporting of concentrations and measures taken to mitigate pollution.

The lists of priority substances need updating since they are incomplete and out of date and do not offer adequate protection of ecosystems and human health from risks posed by water pollution. Additionally, they are largely focused on individual substances that do not take into account the effect of chemical cocktails, while monitoring practices often miss peak events and the real loads of pollutants felt by aquatic life. 

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