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 comprises 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 ran to January 2017.

Vision of project:

  • Determination of hazardous substances: To have an efficient and effective way to identify hazardous substances, as defined in the GDD, and where appropriate, produce reliable determinations. This requires co-operatation between environment agencies, scientists, business and industry, and JAGDAG.
  • Regulatory Standards: A common approach for the UK and Ireland on compliance with the ‘prevent’ requirements of the GDD and to take account of any environmental and business implications. This includes a consistent approach for the use of environmental standards, identificaiton of the need for preventative and restorative work and agreement of what action is considered to be 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

The project concluded in January 2017, the outputs are available here which include the following:

  • methodology for the determination of hazardous substances
  • ist of substance determinations
  • standards that can be used to assess inputs of hazardous substances to groundwater


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