Hazardous substances standards for groundwater

The Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC) (WFD) and Groundwater Daughter Directive (2006/118/EC) (GDD) require Member States to prevent inputs of hazardous substances into groundwater and to limit the input of non-hazardous pollutants.  A project has been set up to deliver these requirements. 

The Project Board is made up of representatives from: 

  • Environment Agency (EA)
  • Natural Resources Wales (NRW)
  • Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)
  • Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) (Not directly involved)
  • Republic of Ireland Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The Project Board also includes a representative from both the UKTAG Groundwater Task Team (GTT) and Joint Agencies Groundwater Directive Advisory Group (JAGDAG). The Project was set up in July 2012 and will run until April 2015.

The vision for this project is:

  • Determination: we will have an efficient and effective way of working for identifying hazardous substances as defined in the Groundwater Daughter Directive (GWDD). This will include co-operating with other environment agencies, scientists, business and industry, where appropriate, and producing determinations that are accepted as reliable.
  • ‘MRVs’ (Minimum Recording Values): We will have a common approach for UK and Ireland on how we comply with the ‘prevent’ requirements of the GWD and to take account of any environmental and business implications. This means a common approach on how we use environmental standards to identify the need for preventative and restorative work, and how we identify what action is proportionate. This includes how the numerical values are derived and applied for both local-scale and water body-scale impacts.

More information on the determination section can be found here.

Project Updates

A consultation will open in 2016 that combines work undertaken over the last 5 years on hazardous substances in groundwater.  This will cover:

  1. the revised methodology for the determination of hazardous substances (following on from the 2011 consultation)
  2. the determination of hazardous substances and non-hazardous pollutants (following on from the 2013 consultation)
  3. deriving and appying the values for the hazardous substances (following on from the 2012 environmental standards consultation).  

April 2014 Update for external stakeholders on Hazardous Substances

April 2013 Update for external stakeholders on Hazardous Substances

February 2013 Update for external stakeholders on Hazardous Substances


Contact Us

If you would like to be included on our mailing list for consultation and/or you would like to submit data for this project please email us at MRVs_England@environment-agency.gov.uk

Advisory Group: 
Publication Date: 
Thursday, January 15, 2015