Important legal notice
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Environment - Understanding the environment and the impacts of green technologies
“To improve safeguards to human health through harmonised sampling and analysis of persistent organic contaminants in sludge, soil and bio-waste.”

The problem

Various sludges, soils and other bio-waste materials are contaminated with a wide-range of micro-pollutants, many of which are injurious to human health. If safeguards specified in the Sewage Sludge Directive (86/278/EEC) and the Bio-waste and the Soil Protection Communication are to be effective, it is essential that sampling and analysis procedures are harmonised across the European Union.

HORIZONTAL  Harmonising bio-waste and soil sampling and analysis


HORIZONTAL-ORG will develop harmonised standards of sampling and analysis for the following most frequently occurring organic compounds occurring in waste sludge, soil and treated bio-waste:

  • AOX (adsorbable organically bound halogens)
  • PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons)
  • PCB (polychlorinated biphenyls)
  • DEHP and DBP (endocrine disruptors and phthalates)
  • LAS, NP and NPE (all detergent surfactants but NP is also an endocrine disruptor)
  • Dioxins and furans
  • BFR (brominated flame retardents)

Contribution to policy development:

  • The project will harmonise standards and procedures across Europe which, in turn, will result in more robust and reliable scientific advice underpinning environmental management and safeguards for health
  • Harmonised sampling and analysis will lead to more effective adherence to the Sewage Sludge Directive (86/278/EEC), as well as the Bio-waste and the Soil Protection Communication

Project deliverables

  • Standardised methods for the pre-treatment of sewage sludge, soil and bio-waste for the analysis of a range of organic contaminants – start month 10, end month 35
  • Standardised methods for the analysis of samples contaminated with organic pollutants – start month 12, end month 35
  • Quality control protocols to ensure EU-wide harmonisation of methods and standards – start month 10, end month 35
  • Statistical evaluation of all validation results from project – start month 24, end month 36


  • Public website – month 6 plus regular updates
  • Publish eight research reports on methods of chemical and statistical analysis of samples and data – months 18-36
  • Publish eight project reports on harmonisation of methods of sampling, analysis and quality control – months 9-36
  • Final project report – month 36

Technical information

Project acronym: HORIZONTAL-ORG
Project’s official full title: Horizontal Standards on Organic Micro-pollutants for Implementation of EU Directives on Sludge, Soil and Treated Bio-waste
Research priority: 1.5. Environmental assessment (soil, water, air, noise, including the effects of chemical substances)
Specific webpage: Details not yet available
Proposal/contract no: 502411
Start date: Not yet available
Kick off meeting: Not yet available
Completion date: + 36 months
European Commission scientific officer: Mogens Gadeberg (

Name: Netherlands Energy Research Foundation
Abbreviated name: ECN
Address: Westerduinweg 3, PO Box 1, Petten 1755 ZG
Country: Netherlands
Tel: +31 224 56 4249
Fax: +31 224 56 4249


Name: Joint Research Centre - Institute for Environment and Sustainability
Abbreviated name: JRC-IES
Country: Italy 

Name: University of Reading
Abbreviated name: Reading
Country: United Kingdom         

Name: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientifcas
Abbreviated name: CSIC-IIQAB CSIC-IRNAS
Country: Spain   

Name: Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation 
Abbreviated name: IUNG
Country:  Poland 

Name: Umwelt Bundesamt Germany
Abbreviated name: UBA D
Country: Germany         

Name: Eurofins Danmark A/S
Abbreviated name: EUROFINS DK
Country: Denmark         

Name: Eurofins A/S
Abbreviated name: EUROFINS
Country: Denmark         

Name: Bundesanstadt für Materialforschung und -Prufung
Abbreviated name: BAM
Country: Germany         

Name: Alterra B.V.
Abbreviated name: ALTERRA
Country: Netherlands     

Name: GIE Anjou Recherche
Abbreviated name: ANJOU
Country: France 

Name: Umweltbundesamt (Federal Environment Agency Austria)
Abbreviated name: UBA-AU
Country: Austria 

Name: DIN Deutsches Institut fuer Normung e.V.
Abbreviated name: DIN Leschber
Country: Germany         

Name: Tim Evans Environment
Abbreviated name: Evans
Country: United Kingdom         

Name: National Institute of Environmental Health
Abbreviated name: NIEH
Country: Hungary          

Name: Soil Science and Conservation Research Institute
Abbreviated name: SSCRI
Country: Sweden