Based on JRC recommendations and Member States' approval, the European Commission has adopted and published an updated Watch List of substances to be monitored in EU surface waters.
Under the Water Framework Directive (WFD), the surface water Watch List (WL) is a list of potential water pollutants that should be carefully monitored by the EU Member States to determine the risk they pose to the aquatic environment and whether EU Environmental Quality Standards (EQS) should be set for them. This list should be updated every 2 years.
The first WL was published in 2015. It included ten substances or groups of substances: one synthetic and two natural hormones, a pain killer, five neonicotinoid insecticides, three macrolide antibiotics, a sunscreen agent, two herbicides, an insecticide and an industrial product.
The JRC reviewed the first WL based on the data gathered during the first year of monitoring (2016), and makes recommendations for the 2nd list in a recently published report.
The JRC report concludes that five substances should be removed from the WL as sufficiently high-quality monitoring data are now available for them, and proposes three new substances to be included. The report also gives the relevant Predicted No Effect Concentrations (PNECs) and identifies possible methods of analysis for the proposed substances.
The five substances recommended be removed from the WL include the pharmaceutical painkiller diclofenac, two herbicides (oxadiazon and tri-allate), a sunscreen ingredient (2-ethylhexyl-4-methoxycinnamate) and an industrial compound (2,6-di-tert-butyl-4-methylphenol). The three new substances to be included comprise one pesticide (metaflumizone) and two antibiotics (amoxicillin and ciprofloxacin). The inclusion of the antibiotics is consistent with the European One Health Action Plan against Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), which supports the use of the WL to ‘improve knowledge of the occurrence and spread of antimicrobials in the environment’.
The updated Watch List includes the following eight substances or groups of substances:
- 17-Alpha-ethinylestradiol (EE2)
- 17-Beta-estradiol (E2), estrone (E1)
- Macrolide antibiotics (erythromycin, clarithromycin, azithromycin)
- Neonicotinoids (imidacloprid, thiacloprid, thiamethoxam, clothianidin, acetamiprid)