June 4, 2015 by Adam Peters

Several of us at wca are relatively recently back from the SETAC Europe meeting in Barcelona where we gave presentations on a variety of issues relating to metals speciation, toxicity and regulation, triclosan bioavailability, bisphenol A, and persistence assessments. Some interesting highlights for me were a discussion about the application of Adverse Outcome Pathways to metals, and the ways in which this might help us to develop approaches which enable the BLMs for some metals to be more broadly applied, and a presentation on the application of bioavailability by Scottish environmental regulators SEPA within their water quality classification scheme including the problems that they have faced and how they have been addressed.

We co-chaired two sessions on the re-use, characterisation, monitoring and analysis of water treatment works effluents with colleagues from industry and academia. Highlight presentations included an overview of a major new effluent monitoring scheme in the UK (Phase 2 of the UKWIR Chemical Investigations Programme), the monitoring of concentrations and effects of pharmaceuticals entering the environment via sewage treatment works, and a series of presentations on the mechanisms by which anti-microbial resistance can be inferred by sewage effluents.

A small meeting was also held on the practical application of the BLMs within compliance assessment systems in order for regulatory users to share their experiences and for the industry groups which support the models to identify the most important areas for future developments. A summary of the meeting is available.

In addition to this meeting, a further meeting attended by stakeholders from industrial, regulatory and governmental backgrounds provided an update on the status of nickel sediment toxicity research and application. In particular, the development of site-specific PNECs for use in local risk assessments of nickel was discussed.