EU water pollutant blacklist set to expand

Pushing for tougher water pollution controls, European lawmakers voted for more substances to be included on the EU's water pollutant 'blacklist.'

“Priority hazardous substances” are toxic chemicals that EU member states are required to phase out completely by 2015. Euro MPs want to see the list of 13 expanded to 45, and to include major industrial chemicals like pesticides, pharmaceuticals and brominated flame retardants.

“With the relentless production and discharge of toxic substances into water, it is important that the list of hazardous substances dealt with by EU water quality rules is enlarged as necessary,” Greens/EFA rapporteur Margrete Auken said following the vote.

EU rules on chemicals in water forms part of the EU Water Framework Directive, which covers all aspects of water policy such as flood management, drinking water quality, urban waste water, groundwater protection and bathing water quality.

Water pollutant regulations included in the WFD identify 41 substances of which 33 are designated “priority substances,” and 13 of those as “priority hazardous substances.” MEPs now want to see the list of priority substances expanded to 61, 45 of which would be classified as “priority hazardous.”

“MEPs voted to almost double the list of substances covered by the directive and strengthened the classification of substances already dealt with by EU water quality rules,” said Margrete Auken.

“Eliminating the discharge of toxic substances into water is not only realistic but should be a priority in terms of protecting public health and the environment,” she said.

The legislation will next be considered by the European Council which will vote on the issue.

“We hope the Council will endorse these improvements made by the EP and ensure water quality is afforded the priority it deserves,” Margrete Auken said.

Goska Romanowicz

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