Pollutants in EU waters: Update of chemical substances listed for control

Briefing 08-09-2023

As required by EU water legislation, and in line with the European Green Deal's zero pollution ambition, on 26 October 2022 the European Commission tabled a proposal to revise the lists of surface water and groundwater pollutants that need to be monitored and controlled for the purpose of protection of EU freshwater bodies, and the associated environmental quality standards. The proposal also seeks to remedy shortcomings identified in the current framework as regards chemical pollution in waters, and notably to enable swifter adaptation to scientific knowledge. Stakeholders' views on the proposed text are mixed. Non-governmental organisations are pushing for more ambition, for instance on chemical mixtures, pesticides, deadlines, and producers' responsibility for covering monitoring costs. Industry representatives have meanwhile expressed some concerns, notably about the achievability and scientific grounding of certain new standards. During its September 2023 plenary session, the European Parliament is expected to vote on the report adopted in June by the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI). This will then form Parliament's position for future negotiations with the Council. Second edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.