Environmental Quality Targets

Environmental quality standards, also called threshold values, quality guidelines or criteria, are defined as "the concentration of a substance or group of substances which must not be exceeded", in order to protect the exposed organisms in the environment or humans via the environment against hazardous contaminants


Environmental Quality Standards (EQS) are defined for chemical substances in the regulatory context of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) (2000/60 / EC), which establishes a Community policy for the management of inland surface waters, groundwater, estuarine and coastal waters to promote their sustainable use, protect their environment  and improve the condition of aquatic ecosystems. There are defined under two schemes:  the selection and regulation of the priority substances of European Union wide concern and the selection by Member States of river basin specific pollutants of national or local concern  for control at the relevant level. The determination of these standards follows a specific methodology that has been developed at European level: the Technical Guidance for Deriving Environmental Quality Standards.

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 We propose to derive (or update) quality targets according to regulatory guidances to protect human health and the environment from hazard effects of contaminants present in various matrices (e.g. waters, sediment, soil, prey...) by:

  • collecting all available data including the most recently disseminated ones.
  • assessing data reliability, estimating missing properties by in-silico methods and selecting the key endpoints.
  • derive all quality targets for the relevant protection goals e.g. pelagic species, benthic species, top predators, human health.
  • select the overall quality target for the relevant matrix.

Further, early warning signals or risk management failures can be identify by comparing the derived quality targets with reliable and representative monitoring datasets.


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