UK Groundwater Forum. From left to right Images Copyright Derek Ball BGS ©NERC 1999, Jude Cobbings BGS ©NERC 2003, Terry Marsh CEH ©1991, Emily Crane BGS ©NERC 2004
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Groundwater Issues

New Groundwater Directive

Under Article 17 of the Water Framework Directive, the European Commission (EC) was required to propose specific measures to prevent and control groundwater pollution and achieve good groundwater chemical status. These measures include criteria for assessing the chemical status of groundwater and for identifying trends in pollution of groundwater bodies. In order to fulfil the requirement, the Commission adopted the Directive on the protection of groundwater against pollution and deterioration on 22 November 2006. Under this new Directive the member states are required to publish a list of substances that they consider to be hazardous substances on the basis of their intrinsic properties. Hazardous substances effectively replace the previous List 1 substances under the old Groundwater Directive (80/68/EEC).

Hazardous substances must be prevented from entering groundwater. A non-hazardous pollutant is defined in Environmental Permitting Regulations (EPR) (2010) as any pollutant other than a hazardous substance. The classification of substances as hazardous or non-hazardous is relevant in all cases where regulation of an input of pollutants to groundwater (a “groundwater activity”) is required by the EPR 2010.

JAGDAG (Joint Agencies Groundwater Directive Advisory Group) has been reconvened to provide a cost-effective mechanism for making UK wide determinations and to facilitate EC reporting requirements.

Further information on the work of JAGDAG, including the list of substances considered to be hazardous, can be found on the UKTAG website.

The existing Groundwater Directive is to be repealed by the Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC (WFD) in 2013.

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