Greater protection for groundwater

Claire Monkhouse from the IEEP looks at the latest developments at the European Commission

The Commission has adopted a proposal for a new directive on the protection of groundwater against pollution.

The proposed directive introduces quality objectives, obliging Member States to monitor and assess groundwater quality and to reverse trends in groundwater pollution.

By adopting the proposal, the Commission seeks to fulfil an obligation under the Water Framework Directive (2000/60), which asked for groundwater protection to be tackled separately in a daughter directive.

The proposed directive will ensure that groundwater quality is monitored and evaluated across Europe in a harmonised way. It aims to establish quality criteria, taking into account local characteristics and allowing for further improvements. It sets out groundwater quality standards for nitrates and pesticides in groundwater, and requires Member States to set national threshold values for a number of substances by December 2005 - ammonium, arsenic, cadmium, chloride, lead and mercury for example.

Further information: Commission Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Protection of Groundwater against Pollution, COM(2003) 550, 19.9.2003



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