MicroPoll: Risk Assessment
The contamination of our rivers and lakes with organic trace substances – the so-called micropollutants – represents a special challenge to water protection. This refers, for example, to residues from consumer products, drugs or plant protection products. Some of these substances may already have adverse effects on aquatic ecosystems at very low concentrations. For most of these substances, the information necessary to assess their environmental impact has not been available to date. The objective of the project "MicroPoll Strategy" of the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) is to develop the fundamentals for ecotoxicologically based numerical requirements for a selection of these substances, i.e. standard values to be complied with in order to attain a specified quality goal for the water quality.
Approximately 40 Switzerland-relevant micropollutants were selected from 255 eligible substances that are considered potentially harmful to rivers and lakes primarily due to their exposure. Besides the exposure, the ecotoxicological hazard of the substances is to be determined through the derivation of ecotoxicologically based assessment criteria. The requirement values are derived following the accompanying documents* developed for the implementation of the Water Framework Directive. Acute and chronic quality standards allowing the state-of-the-art protection of rivers and lakes can be defined based on the data from extensive effect data research. Thus, chemical-numerical requirements of the water quality (also referred to as environmental quality standards on an international level) can be developed for the selected substances and proposed to the FOEN.
Project duration: May 2009 - May 2011