Environmental Quality Targets

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: Technical Guidance for Deriving Environmental Quality Standards (EC 2011). 

In order to assess the impact of chemical substances present in the aquatic environment, their measured concentrations in water, sediment or biota are compared to the corresponding EQS defined as, the "concentration of a substance or group of substances in  which must not be exceeded", in order to protect the aquatic organisms (pelagic, benthic and top predators) and human health via drinking water and fishery product consumption.

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 We propose to derive (or update) Quality Standards (QSs) similar to EQSs for freshwaters and marine waters according to the EC Technical guidance methodology for any kind of substance by:

  • collecting all available data including the most recent ones like REACH dissiminated data
  • assessing data reliability, estimating missing properties (QSAR) and selecting the key endpoints
  • derive all QSs for the relevant protection goals: pelagic species, benthic species, top predators (mammals and birds) and human health.
  • select the overall QSs for the relevant matrices: water, sediment and biota for the freshwater and marine environments.

Further, an early warning risk for the organisms of specific aquatic ecosystems can be identify by comparing the derived QSs with relevant and reliable monitoring data especially for emerging contaminants.


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