July 8, 2024 by Adam Peters

Adam Ni EQS blog

Adam and Graham have recently published an evaluation of what the implications would be for the UK if the existing EQS for nickel, that was set under the Water Framework Directive in 2013, was updated to take account of the additional evidence that has become available since it was set. Although the EQS that was set under the WFD is very robust there are more ecotoxicity data available now and there have also been advances in understanding nickel bioavailability. An updated standard for nickel would include more sensitive ecotoxicity data and could also be applied to water chemistry conditions that are more sensitive to nickel toxicity. This combination of more sensitive conditions and more sensitive ecotoxicity data means that an updated standard for nickel in the UK would be slightly lower than the existing EQS. A consequence of such a change would be a higher level of non-compliance compared to the existing EQS. However, only approximately 65% of UK surface waters are within the applicability range of the existing EQS, whereas over 92% of waters would be covered by an updated standard, due to the improved understanding of nickel bioavailability. It is estimated that only 5.6% of sites would not comply with an updated standard for nickel. The paper also evaluated whether taking account of ambient background concentrations of nickel would affect compliance against an updated standard, but found that there are extremely few sites where taking account of ambient background concentrations of nickel would be necessary.