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Council of the EU Agrees on Updated List of Water Pollutants to Enhance Environmental Protection

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On June 19, 2024, the Council of the European Union agreed on a negotiating mandate to amend the water framework directive, the groundwater directive, and the directive on environmental quality standards. This proposal updates the list of priority substances and environmental quality standards for surface water and groundwater.

The updated directive aims to balance ambitious EU water policy goals with flexibility for member states, reducing administrative burdens. Key updates include new pollutants like PFAS, pharmaceuticals, and pesticides. The mandate emphasizes improved monitoring, including remote sensing and EU-wide facilities, and introduces intermediate reporting to measure progress more uniformly.

Groundwater pollutants identified as national concerns will have EU-wide values for synthetic substances, with member states given until 2039 to achieve good chemical status. The mandate aligns PFAS requirements with the drinking water directive and establishes a mandatory 'watch list mechanism' for groundwater.

The Council's agreement allows negotiations with the European Parliament to commence, aiming for a final text that supports the European Green Deal's zero pollution ambition by 2050.


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