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Sustainable and responsible business

Water and waste water management

EU water legislation covers areas as diverse as groundwater protection and urban waste water, drinking water quality, bathing water quality and protection of waters against pollution caused by nitrates from agricultural sources.

The EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) acts as a framework for water policy legislation. The Directive's main objective is to achieve a good quality ecological and chemical status of EU waters (inland surface waters, transitional waters, coastal waters and groundwater), by 2015.

The WFD requires that Member States identify river basin districts for which river basin management plans and programmes of measures have to be established.

Concerning action against chemical pollution of water, the WFD requires the progressive reduction of pollutants and, for priority hazardous substances, the cessation or phasing-out of discharges. For this purpose, a list of 33 hazardous substances of concern at Community level has been established, which is included as Annex X to the Water Framework Directive.

The WFD also required setting environmental quality standards (EQS) and emission controls for these priority hazardous substances. This has been done by the EQS Directive, which sets environmental quality standards in the field of water policy for priority substances and other pollutants, and reviews the list of priority hazardous substances.

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