January 3, 2014 by Graham Merrington

I attended a conference and workshop in Hong Kong from the 3-7 December 2011 on Deriving Environmental Quality Standards for the Protection of Aquatic Ecosystems (EQSPAE). Professor Kenny Leung of Hong Kong University organised the meeting and also led in the production of a Special Issue in Environmental Science and Pollution Research, focused upon Environmental Quality Benchmarks for Protecting Aquatic Ecosystems. Attendees at the conference were from 14 different countries, with a strong focus of the presentations and posters on collaboration and development of EQ benchmarks and methodologies in the Asia Pacific region.

Over 20 papers are in the Special Issue with four contributions from wca on the overall challenges and lessons of EQS development, setting EQS in Europe and data needs, an assessment of effects of nickel exposure on benthic ecosystems in freshwaters and, finally, the setting of site-specific EQS for zinc, taking account of bioavailability and local aquatic community composition. There is a strong theme in relation to the setting of site-specific limits for sediments and waters through the special issue. Other contributions cover salient EQS issues, including the recent revision of the Australian and New Zealand Guidelines for toxicants in fresh and marine waters, and the use of tissue-based EQSs, which present some considerable implementation challenges to regulators in many developed countries, specifically in respect to delivery of ecologically relevant metrics as a tool for Environmental Decision Makers.

A second EQSPAE conference will be held in 2015 in Korea.