EU Water Standards (EU)

(1) On 26 October 2022, the EU adopted a proposal to amend the Water Framework Directive, the Groundwater Directive and the Environmental Quality Standards Directive. This proposal is here.

24 substances are proposed for addition to the list of priority substances in surface waters, as well as a standard for total pesticides. They include PFAS, a range of pesticides, bisphenol A, and a number of pharmaceuticals.

The proposal also includes making certain standards stricter for substances already on the list, such as some metals and industrial chemicals.

Four other existing priority substances are proposed for removal from the list, and another for integration into the new PFAS group, and eight already-regulated “other pollutants” have been re-designated as priority substances, resulting in a total of 73.

A Q&A on this proposal is here.

(2) On the 26th October 2022, the EU adopted a proposal to revise the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive. This proposal is here.

A Q&A on this proposal is here.

The revised directive will introduce extended producer responsibility. This means certain industries will be asked to pay for the treatment of the harmful pollutants that are released from the use of their products. Currently the pharmaceuticals and the cosmetics sectors are jointly responsible for 92% of the toxic load in wastewaters. For both sectors, there is sufficient evidence on the existence of micropollutants from these products in wastewater and there are treatments to remove their harmful residues. In the long term, the European Commission will assess if other sectors can be added to the extended producer responsibility scheme.