European commission consults on pollutants in surface and ground waters


The Commission has launched an open public consultation on its upcoming legislative proposal on the lists of pollutants affecting surface and ground waters and corresponding regulatory standards. In 2019, its Fitness Check of EU Water Law concluded that water legislation is generally fit for purpose, but there is room for improvement in many key areas, such as chemical pollution, where legislation did not sufficiently address pollutants of emerging concern, such as pharmaceuticals, (micro-) plastics and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). In October 2020, the Commission issued an inception impact assessment (IIA), laying out the roadmap for a revision of various pieces of EU water legislation. The options that it presented include updating (1) the list of priority substances in surface waters (under the Water Framework Directive 2000/60), (2) the water environmental quality standards (under the Environmental Quality Standards Directive 2013/39), and (3) the lists of pollutants and standards in groundwater (under Groundwater Directive 2014/80) by adding, removing, or re-designating substances. Non-legislative options could include updating and developing guidelines on monitoring and on thresholds.

The public consultation will be open until 1 November. In parallel, an expert questionnaire will be available until 5 October. The Commission plans to issue its legislative proposal in Q3 2022. The EU co-legislators (Council and European Parliament) would then negotiate and adopt it following the ordinary legislative procedure.

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~sThe National Law Review, 10 September 2021