Water - Fitness Check of the Water Framework Directive


The Water Framework Directive (WFD) aims to protect freshwater resources and ensure good ecological and chemical status of EU waters. It entered into force in 2000 and is implemented via the Common Implementation Strategy (CIS) with the contribution of Member States and stakeholders.

In October 2017, the European Commission launched a new Fitness Check of the EU Water Legislation covering the Water Framework Directive and Groundwater and Environmental Quality Standards Directives.

4 metals

are on the Priority Substances List

Why it’s important

The correct assessment of metals in water, considering their bioavailability and natural background, is fundamental to our industry.

Four metals have an EU Environmental Quality Standard (EQS) to be complied with as part of the “priority substances” list and another three metals are under further assessment for derivation of a refined EQS. Several metals are River Basin Specific Pollutants (RBSPs) in more than one Member State.

What we are seeking

We remain highly committed to the completion of the new Guidance document on Implementing metals EQS for the Common Implementation Strategy and to support Member States with their assessment of metals in waters.

We are working with other industry groups to recommend several further improvements:

  • An improved risk-based ranking system for substance prioritisation
  • Clarification on the use of the non-deterioration principle and Weser-ruling in the context of discharge permits’ renewal
  • Improved identification of River Basin Specific Pollutants at Member State’ level and clarification in the definition and assessment of the ecological status versus chemical status of European water.

Lara Van de Merckt

Chemicals Management Policy Officer


Supporting Documents