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New EU rules on priority substances in the field of water agreed

Member states must begin to monitor levels of three pharmaceutical substances in water by September 2015, under a new directive published this week following its adoption in Parliament and Council in July 2013. The new Directive 2013/39/EU amends two previous directives covering priority substances in the field of water policy.  Included in the new watch list of 10 chemicals to be monitored with a view to possibly regulating them under EU water legislation in future are anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac and two substances used in contraceptive pills, E2 and EE2.  The list has been established under the updated directive on priority substances, which will come into force on 15 September 2013. The European Commission must establish the watch list by 1 September 2014 and update it every two years after that. Updated environmental quality standards (EQSs) for seven existing substances including lead, nickel and their compounds will apply from December 2015. ‘Good chemical status’ in relation to these substances must be achieved by December 2021 through the second cycle of river basin management plans. Twelve new priority substances including pesticides cypermethrin and dicofol and herbicide bifenox will apply from December 2018, while good chemical status must be achieved by December 2027.  The new priority substances list will be reviewed by September 2018.

Issue 26