EurEau newsletter - edition 38 - August 2019
Free, publically available drinking water … on Twitter?
We began a social media thread mapping publicly available and free drinking water fountains, cafes and other resources across Europe.
EurEau publishes Briefing Note on PMT substances
EurEau published a Briefing Note demonstrating the impact of persistent, mobile and toxic (PMT) and very persistent, very mobile (vPvM) substances on water services and calling for ambitious regulatory measures to restrict their use. EurEau supports the Council’s call for an action plan to phase out PFAS, some of which are PMT/vPvP substances.
Detergents Regulation: EU rules have 'a positive impact' on the environment
The first European Commission review of the Detergents Regulation shows a lower level of phosphates released into the environment.
Since the 2004 regulation, only detergents that break down into CO2, water and biomass can be placed on the EU market.
Phosphorus limits were added to the legislation in 2012, resulting in many detergents being reformulated and a reduction of around 55,000 tonnes of phosphorus across the EU.
Microplastics: EurEau responds to ECHA consultation
The European Chemical Agency (ECHA) is conducting a public consultation to restrict intentionally added (primary) microplastics under REACH. We fully support this control-at-source measure and we explained the impact of microplastics on drinking water and waste water services in our response.
Microplastics: Artificial turf pitches to stay but could face restrictions
The European Union will not ban artificial turf pitches but the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) is looking at alternatives.
The products that make up artificial turf pitches are an important source of microplastics, which can enter the environment, including water sources.
The ECHA estimates that artificial turf contributes between 18,000 and 72,000 tonnes of microplastics to the environment per year.
Agriculture: EU ministers struggle to find a ‘practical’ roadmap for a greener CAP
EU Agriculture ministers met in Brussels (15 July) to discuss ‘green architecture’ in the CAP. While ministers agree on higher climate objectives, there is no agreement on how to achieve it.
Enhanced conditionality and additional environmental actions through the eco-scheme are contentious issues when setting the requirements and standards farmers must fulfil in order to receive direct payments (the ‘conditionality’ clause).
Soil management: roadmap
EurEau submitted short comments on the roadmap to assess the impact of the EU farm policy on soil management. A public consultation will be launched in Q4 of 2020.
More details can be found here.
ECI Directive: Commission ends evaluation process
The European Commission is currently evaluating the European Critical Infrastructure (ECI) Directive (2008/114). We reacted to the public consultation. All replies including a short summary document drafted by the Commission are available here on DG HOME’s website.
Following the completion of the directive’s external evaluation, the Commission prepared a Staff Working Document and an accompanying executive summary. The option to repeal the directive completely seems to have been discarded. The preferred option is now a revision, in order to modernise it and to align it more with the security of Network and Information Systems (NIS) Directive. This means that additional infrastructures might be included in the scope of the ECI Directive.
DG HOME will assess different options in the Impact Assessment.
The documents are available at the website of DG HOME: here.
Governance of Water Services
Carla spoke on behalf of EurEau at the CERRE event on ‘Regulating Water: principles & recommendations for an efficient system’ on the 11 July, where CERRE presented its report.
Microplastics: Low risk from microplastics in drinking water, says WHO
The WHO published a report on microplastics in drinking water, addressing both bottled water and tap water.
The full article can be read here.
Pharmaceuticals in the environment: OECD calls for life cycle approach
At the Stockholm World Water Week 2019, the OECD launched its new study on ‘Pharmaceutical Residues in Freshwater: Hazards and Policy Responses’. The report addresses pharmaceuticals in the environment in their whole life-cycle. It contributes “to close the science-policy loop providing policy guidance to cost-effectively reduce pharmaceuticals in freshwater, and their associated risks to human and environmental health”.
You can find the preliminary report here.
The full PiE report from the OECD will be available on the 30 September at this link.
Water resources: New World Bank report points at “invisible crisis”
The World Bank released the study “Quality Unknown – The invisible water crisis” that deals with threats to water resources, from nitrates to pollutants of emerging concern such as pharmaceuticals and microplastics.
POPs: Public consultation on the EU implementation plan
The European Commission has developed two questionnaires to help seek input on the further development of the European implementation plan for persistent organic pollutants (POPs). The deadline to submit your response is 11 November.
The public consultation is available here: https://ec.europa.eu/eusurvey/runner/UIPStockholmConvention2019.
Innovation: Commission eyes partnership on Circular bio-based Europe under Horizon Europe
The Commission is considering creating a European Partnership on ‘Circular bio-based Europe: sustainable innovation for new local value from waste and biomass’ (Sustainable, inclusive and circular bio-based solutions) under its future research programme HorizonEurope. Reacting to the public consultation, EurEau supported the idea but called for the inclusion of the water sector.
More details here.
New Strategic Agenda from the European Council
The European Commission’s probable next president, Ursula von der Leyen (known by her acronym VDL) set out her programme should her nomination be confirmed. VDL proposes to deliver a “green deal” for Europe that will provide for climate neutrality by the year 2050. She mentions enhancing the quality of our water, promoting sustainable agriculture and guaranteeing food safety.
News from members
Malta is continuing its ‘Towards a net zero impact utility’ project. Read more here.
Staying in Malta, the water services Corporation won the Water Governance Prize at the 2019 Water Innovation Europe Annual Event. More… and congratulations!
While in France, FP2E has a new look website. You can check it out at http://www.fp2e.org/.
In the UK, a major campaign was launched to encourage the nation to ‘Love Water’. More than 40 environmental groups, charities, water companies and regulators, including Water UK, are taking part. The ‘Love Water’ campaign aims to raise awareness of the importance of water and the role everyone plays in protecting it.
9-13 September 2019 - 10th IAHS International Groundwater Quality Conference (GQ2019); Liège, Belgium.
12-18 September 2019 – SMART-Plant. More at http://www.smart-plant.eu/.
17 September 2019 - ACLIMA (Basque Environmental Cluster), in conjunction with several water operators from the Basque Country, is organising a meeting on ‘Emerging water pollutants and health’ in San Sebastian (Spain). EurEau will be represented by Alejandro de la Sota.
6-8 October 2019 - ECSM, European Conference on Sludge Management, Liège, Belgium. Jean-Pierre Silan will represent EurEau, talking about ‘A holistic approach to face challenges of waste water operators for sewage sludge management in Europe’.
9 October 2019 - Waste water phosphorus removal tomorrow: ambitions and reality, Liège, Belgium. Greet de Gueldre will speak at it, representing EurEau.
15 October 2019 - Assises de l'eau en Wallonie, Meux, Belgium. You can register from 9 September here: www.lesassisesdeleau.be, and it's free!
21 October 2019 - Water Reuse Europe will host a one day knowledge exchange event in Lille, France.
12-13 November 2019 – DANVA Annual Conference in Aarhus. EurEau President Claudia Castell-Exner will speak at it.
28 November 2019 - Second International Conference on Risk Assessment of Pharmaceuticals in the Environment (ICRAPHE); Barcelona, Spain.
12 December 2019 - EU Water Innovation Conference 2019 in Zaragoza, Spain.