News story

Priority substance list extended by amendment to Water Regulation

A new amendment to the Water Environment Regulations includes further measures on monitoring hazardous substances.

A new Regulation, The Water Environment (Water Framework Directive) (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2015, has been published on behalf of Defra and the Welsh Government which amends the Water Environment (Water Framework Directive) (England and Wales) Regulations 2003 and transpose aspects of Directive 2013//39/EU.

This legislation has now also been enacted by a new Regulation in Northern Ireland, The Water Framework Directive (Classification, Priority Substances and Shellfish Waters) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015.

One specific requirement of the new Regulations, stated in new Regulation 10A, is the need for laboratories to develop and demonstrate technical capability to measure the compounds recently added to the priority substances list in the EU Directive (34 to 45 in the table) by December 2018. This is required to enable the continuation of water quality monitoring. These substances are: dicofol, perfluorooctane sulfonic acid and its derivatives (PFOS), quinoxyfen, dioxins and dioxin-like compounds, aclonifen, bifenox, cybutryne, cypermethrin, dichlorvos, hexabromocyclododecanes (HBCDD), heptachlor/heptachlor epoxide and terbutryn. A previous study carried out under the Government Chemist Programme looked at the capability of state-of-the-artf laboratories to determine these substances at their proposed limits, as listed in the Directive. This study concluded that for 6 of the 12 substances, analytical methods developed within the European Union to date can not determine these substances at or below these limits.

Therefore, laboratories have just over 3 years to develop appropriate analytical methodology for these substances so that their concentrations in water bodies within river basin areas can be monitored satisfactorily.