Table of contents

2.5. Chemical status of surface waters, exemptions and Mixing Zones

‘Good surface water chemical status’ means the chemical status required to meet the Environmental Objectives for surface waters established in Article 4(1)(a) of the WFD, that is the chemical status achieved by a body of surface water in which concentrations of pollutants do not exceed the environmental quality standards (EQS) established in Annex IX and under Article 16(7), and under other relevant Community legislation setting EQS at Community level. It should be noted that under Article 2(1) of the WFD, territorial waters are included for the assessment and reporting of chemical status.

Decision 2455/2001/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 November 2001 established the list of Priority Substances in the field of water policy. The Decision identified the substances for which EQS were to be set at Community level which was implemented by means of Directive 2008/105/EC (the EQS Directive (EQSD)). Eight other pollutants that were regulated by Directive 76/464/EEC were also incorporated into the assessment of chemical status.

The EQSD includes a number of other obligations relating to Priority Substances, in particular the trend monitoring of certain Priority Substances in sediment or biota (Article 3(3) EQSD) and the establishment of an inventory of emissions, discharges and losses (Article 5 EQSD, see also Section 9.2).

Directive 2009/90/EC (the QA/QC Directive) on the quality and comparability of chemical monitoring specifies minimum performance criteria to ensure the quality of the analytical results. The deadline for transposition of the QA/QC Directive into national legislation was 21 August 2009, just before the adoption of the first RBMPs.

Directive 2013/39/EU, amending the WFD and EQSD as regards Priority Substances, was adopted on 12 August 2013. The revised EQSs for existing Priority Substances should be taken into account for the first time in RBMPs covering the period 2015 to 2021. The newly identified Priority Substances and their EQSs should be taken into account in the establishment of supplementary monitoring programmes and in preliminary Programmes of Measures to be reported by Member States by the end of 2018.

With the aim of achieving good surface water chemical status, the revised EQSs for existing Priority Substances should be met by the end of 2021 and the EQSs for newly identified Priority Substances by the end of 2027. This is without prejudice to Article 4(4) to (9) of the WFD, which includes inter alia provisions for extending the deadline for achieving good surface water chemical status or achieving less stringent Environmental Objectives for specific bodies of water on the grounds of disproportionate cost and/or socio-economic need, provided that no further deterioration occurs in the status of the affected bodies of water.

The determination of surface water chemical status by the 2015 deadline laid down in Article 4 of the WFD should be based, therefore, only on the substances and EQSs set out in the EQSD in the version in force on 13 January 2009 unless those EQSs are stricter than the revised EQS under Directive 2013/39/EU, in which case the revised (less strict) EQSs should be applied.

However, Directive 2013/39/EU requires Member States to achieve good chemical status by 2021 for those existing substances for which a more stringent standard has been adopted. This would require that an assessment is included in the second RBMPs to be adopted in 2015 on the basis of the new EQSs and, if necessary, measures should be included in the Programmes of Measures to be operational by 2018 at the latest.

Directive 2013/39/EU allows that, with regard to the presentation of chemical status for the purposes of the update of the Programmes of Measures and the RBMPs to be carried out in accordance with Article 11(8) and Article 13(7) of the WFD, respectively, Member States should be allowed to present separately the impact on chemical status of newly identified Priority Substances and of existing Priority Substances with revised EQSs. This is so that the introduction of new requirements is not mistakenly perceived as an indication that the chemical status of surface waters has deteriorated. In addition to the obligatory map covering all substances, additional maps could be separately provided covering newly identified substances, existing substances with revised EQSs, substances behaving like ubiquitous PBTs, and all other substances.

The EQSD also contains a provision regarding the possibility of designating Mixing Zones (Article 4 EQSD). This is linked with the so-called ‘combined approach’ (Article 10 WFD). Effluent discharge control regimes are normally designed to ensure that concentrations of Priority Substances or other pollutants in the receiving water do not exceed the EQS. However, if their concentration in the effluent is greater than the EQS value at the point of discharge there will be a zone of EQS exceedance in the vicinity of the point of discharge. Article 4 of the EQSD allows Member States to permit such zones of exceedance in water bodies when a number of criteria are met:

  • Mixing Zones may be designated adjacent to points of discharge within which concentrations of one or more substances listed in Part A of Annex 1 of the EQSD may exceed the relevant EQS provided that they do not affect the compliance of the rest of the surface water body with those EQS.
  • The Mixing Zones should be restricted to the proximity of the discharge and be proportionate.
  • Certain information (such as on the approaches and methodologies applied to define such Mixing Zones; and on the measures taken with a view to reducing the extent of the Mixing Zones in the future) should be provided in the RBMPs (see also Section 4).

comments (0)

Class: SurfaceWaterBody (SWB chemical status)

  1. Please include here any comments which apply to all the schema elements in this Class.
  2. In addition to those general schema element level comments, we welcome your views on: a) whether you think this Class can be simplified;  and b) whether you think the linkages with other reporting Classes or Schemas can be improved, and how;

comments (0)

swChemicalStatusValue - Required.(StatusCode_Enum)

Indicate the chemical status of the water body.

comments (0)

swChemicalAssessmentYear - Required.

Provide the year on which the assessment of status is based. This may be the year that the surface water body was monitored. In case of grouping this may be the year in which monitoring took place in the surface water bodies within a group that are used to extrapolate results to non-monitored surface water bodies within the same group. A period is possible (e.g. 2011--2013).

comments (0)

swChemicalAssessmentConfidence - Required. (Confidence_Enum)

Indicate the confidence on the chemical status assigned.

comments (0)

swChemicalMonitoringResults - Conditional. (MonitoringResults_Enum)

Indicate on what basis the status classification was derived.

comments (0)

swChemicalStatusGrouping - Conditional.

If no monitoring data is available for this surface water body and status has been derived through grouping by extrapolating monitoring data from other surface water bodies, indicate the codes of the surface water bodies which have been monitored and used in grouping.

For example if the status of surface water body A has been determined by extrapolating monitoring data from surface water bodies B and C, then the euSurfaceWaterBodyCode for surface water bodies B and C should be reported in this element.

comments (0)

swChemicalStatusExpectedGoodIn2015 - Required. (YesNoCode_Enum)

Indicate whether it is expected that this surface water body will achieve good chemical status by the end of 2015.

comments (0)

swChemicalStatusExpectedAchievementDate - Conditional. (GoodStatus_Enum)

If good chemical status will NOT be achieved by 2015 (swChemicalStatusExpectedGoodIn2015 is No), report the date by which it is expected that it will be achieved in full. The methodology of this assessment should be clearly explained in the RBMP or background documents (reference reported under classification methodologies).

If good chemical status will not be achieved by 2015, exemptions should be applied. Please report the date by which it is expected that good chemical status will be achieved in full, not the date relating to individual exemptions. However, please note the following:

Article 4(4) exemptions relate to the extension of deadlines. According to Article 4(4)c of the WFD, postponing the achievement of objectives beyond two further updates of the river basin management plan is only possible due to natural conditions.

If Article 4(5) exemptions apply, report the date by when the less stringent objective is to be achieved. If the less stringent objective has already been achieved then select 'Less stringent objectives already achieved'.

If good chemical status will be achieved by 2015 (swChemicalStatusExpectedGoodIn2015 is Yes) this element should not be reported.

comments (0)

swMixingZones - Optional. (YesNoCode_Enum)

Report whether Mixing Zones have been designated in the surface water body.

comments (0)

swMixingZonesProportion - Optional.

Report the percentage of length or area of the surface water body that has been designated as a Mixing Zone.  

comments (0)

Class: SWPrioritySubstance (child of SurfaceWaterBody - chemical status)

  1. Please include here any comments which apply to all the schema elements in this Class.
  2. In addition to those general schema element level comments, we welcome your views on: a) whether you think this Class can be simplified;  and b) whether you think the linkages with other reporting Classes or Schemas can be improved, and how;

comments (0)

swPrioritySubstanceCode - Required. (PS_Enum)

Select each priority substance for which one or more of the circumstances defined in the list of EnumValues occur in the relevant water body

comments (0)

swPrioritySubstanceCausingFailure - Required. (YesNoCode_Enum)

Indicate if the priority substance is causing failure to achieve good chemical status.

Information on exceedances from ubiquitous substances should be reported.

For substances for which EQS were made more stringent in the 2013 amendment of the EQS Directive (Anthracene, Brominated diphenylethers, Fluoranthene, Lead and its compounds, Naphthalene, Nickel and its compounds and Polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAH)), exceedances of either the 2008 EQS or the 2013 EQS, or both, should be reported here. Exceedances of the latter should be reported even when swChemicalStatusValue is good on the basis of the less stringent 2008 standards, in order to enable the reporting of swPrioritySubstanceExceedanceType and, if appropriate, of swChemicalExemptionType and swChemicalExemptionPressure. The substances causing exceedances to the 2013 EQSs but not to the 2008 EQSs should also be reported under schema element swEffectStatusNewThresholds. See table at the end of this section of the guidance on different scenarios for these substances and the corresponding reporting values.

comments (0)

swPrioritySubstanceExceedanceType - Conditional. (EQStandardType_Enum)

For each Priority Substance exceeding EQS, indicate which EQS is exceeded.

comments (0)

swPrioritySubstanceImprovingChemicalStatus - Required.(YesNoCode_Enum)

Report whether the Priority Substance improved from poor to good chemical status since the first RBMP. For the Priority Substances for which the EQSs have changed in the 2013 amendment of the EQS Directive (2013/39/EU), the improvement should refer to the 2008 EQS.

comments (0)

swPrioritySubstanceEffectStatusNewThresholds - Required. (YesNoNotApplicable_Union_Enum)

If the priority substance is one of the seven for which more stringent EQSs were adopted in Directive 2013/39/EU, indicate if the new standard caused the status of the surface water body to appear to deteriorate. If not one of the seven report ‘Not applicable’.

The assessment of failure according to the new, more stringent standards is relevant for the purpose of meeting the 2021 good chemical status objective as set in Article 3 paragraph 1a(i) of EQS Directive 2008/105/EC as amended by Directive 2013/39/EU.

comments (0)

swPrioritySubstanceExceedanceInMixingZone - Optional. (YesNoCode_Enum)

Report whether the Priority Substance exceeds or is expected to exceed the EQS within the Mixing Zone in the surface water body.

comments (0)

Class: SWChemicalExemptionType (child of SWPrioritySubstances)

  1. Please include here any comments which apply to all the schema elements in this Class.
  2. In addition to those general schema element level comments, we welcome your views on: a) whether you think this Class can be simplified;  and b) whether you think the linkages with other reporting Classes or Schemas can be improved, and how;

comments (0)

swChemicalExemptionType - Required. (ExemptionType_Enum)

Report which type(s) of exemption(s) apply if good chemical status is not expected to be achieved by 2015 for that priority substance. If there are exceedances of the EQSs made more stringent in 2013 (for substances Anthracene, Brominated diphenylethers, Fluoranthene, Lead and its compounds, Naphthalene, Nickel and its compounds and Polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAH)), report which type(s) of exemption(s) apply if good chemical status is not expected to be achieved by 2021. More than one exemption may apply to a surface water body.

comments (0)

swChemicalExemptionPressure - Conditional. (SignificantPressureType_Enum )

If any Article 4(4) or 4(5) exemptions apply to this surface water body for chemical status, report the significant pressure(s) that are causing failure in order to justify the exemption(s).

comments (0)