The Dutch association of River water companies RIWA and the union of Netherland’s water works, Vewin, call for action: Science and legislation must be combined properly in order to clearly reduce emissions of persistent, mobile and toxic (PMT) substances as well as very persistent and very mobile (vPvM) subtances. Despite all efforts taken since the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) entered into force, the efforts that water works using river water from the Rhine and Maas have to make to meet the drinking water requirements have increased during the last 20 years. This contradicts the aim of article 7.3 of the WFD to achieve improvements in water quality and reduce the level of water treatment for drinking water production. The two organisations present an opinion paper providing a realistic and practical framework with the aim of protecting the sources of drinking water and achieving the objectives of the WFD for PMT an vPvM micropollutants, by combining existing ideas and legislation.
Developments improving licensing of industrial discharges
Inter alia, the author describe the new system of licensing industrial discharges in the Netherlands. This system includes a drinking water test to the existing regulatory guidelines of the “discharge-test” guidelines, that are used by the authorities in their permitting procedures. In doing so, it shall be assured that industrial facilities that apply for a discharge licence, take all efforts to treat their wastewater properly to meet the requirements of drinking water suppliers, who take their water directly from the river or indirectly via riverbank filtration downstream of the industry site.
Furthermore, the authors urgently call for improving transparency on (industrial) emissions. In detail transparency is demanded on the location, amount, and chemical compositions of industry emissions.
The regulatory framework exists, it must still be applied
With a fully operational and complete system within REACH, the WFD, the Urban Wastewater Directive (UWWTD) and the Industry Emissions Directive (IED), the components of the high-quality regulatory and registration machinery are available, “but the machine still has to be put together, and requires finetuning for optimal performance.”
The full opinion paper can be downloaded here.