November 24, 2014 by Graham Merrington


For the last 8 years wca have worked collaboratively with colleagues at the Environment Agency and Scottish Environment Protection Agency and representatives of the Nickel Producers Environmental Research Association, International Zinc Association and the European Copper Institute to develop and implement a methodology to account for metal bioavailability in regulatory compliance assessment.

A user-friendly tool, based on the outputs from biotic ligand models for copper, nickel and zinc, has been developed. This tool, called M-BAT (Metal Bioavailability Assessment Tool) has now been approved for use by the Water Framework Directive UK Chemistry Task Team.

This decision paves the way for embedding the tool into national laboratory information systems so that users can request ‘bioavailable metal’ as a routine determinand. Also the UK Water Framework Directive Technical Advisory Group has recently published a Method Statement for the use of MBAT and the tool itself. The tool is to be used by regulators and the regulated community and provides a new and scientifically correct approach to classification and risk assessment of metals in freshwaters.

The successful completion of this long programme of work demonstrates the considerable value of collaborative regulatory and industry partnerships in delivering scientifically robust, but workable solutions to environmental challenges.