Quality Criteria for Surface Waters and Sediments
In Swiss surface waters, numerous pollutants are regularly detected that can adversely affect aquatic organisms and ecosystem. To assess the water quality in Europe, effect-based values or quality standards are used, below which no adverse effects should occur. In Switzerland, such substance-specific ecotoxicological concentration limits have already been included in the Water Protection Ordinance for some pesticides and pharmaceuticals. Recently, the Ecotox Centre has also derived quality criteria for sediments. Sediment quality plays an important role for surface water quality.
Quality criteria are derived based on the acute and chronic effects of substances on environmental organisms. On behalf of the Federal Office for the Environment, the Ecotox Centre has derived proposals for quality criteria for numerous substances and regularly updates them. The proposed quality criteria are also externally reviewed.