May 4, 2011 by Graham Merrington

The European Commission is sponsoring a workshop on June the 21st in Brussels on implementing bioavailability-based approaches for metal EQS compliance under the Water Framework Directive. The participants will be Member State representatives including policy leads on the Water Framework Directive, such as those responsible for advising ministers; Scientific leads, such as those responsible for the appropriate technical underpinning of new approaches to the assessment of water quality; and Monitoring and assessment specialists, i.e. those with the day to day involvement in collating, interpreting and acting upon the results of monitoring data.

The UK and Netherlands have used the bioavailability-based tools, along with France, to assess how the compliance picture may change for metals once bioavailability is taken into consideration.

The meeting will be split into two parts with an introductory and scene setting session from the Commission, the UK, Netherlands and France followed by breakout groups focused around key implementation areas. The outputs from these sessions will form the basis for guidance aimed at assisting Member States to implement approaches that account for the bioavailability of metals when assessing EQS compliance.

As well as briefly tackling the science behind the Biotic Ligand Models (BLMs) that underpin these bioavailability-based approaches the meetings will also provide a ‘hands on’ demonstration of the tools available using Member State data. A set of answers to Frequently Asked Questions will also be provided.

wca staff (Adam Peters, Bruce Brown and myself) will be supporting the UK delegation at the meeting. We will be presenting the findings of projects completed for the Environment Agency and Defra that focused on the use of bioavailability-based approaches to fulfil regulatory requirements.