Water quality standards tell us the quantity of a pollutant that can safely be present in the water environment without causing harm to the ecology.
The Environmental Quality Standards will be used for assessing the state of the water environment through classification, and will also be used in the monitoring programme.
We already use environmental standards to protect the water environment from pollution, and for permitting water abstraction and discharges.
To carry out the Water Framework Directive (WFD we need to identify environmental standards to use in protecting ecology from pressures, such as damaging engineering works. We also need to review the current environmental standards to check that they are effective in achieving the objectives of the Directive.
There are three types of environmental standards being developed for the Water Framework Directive:
The WFD will take over from the Dangerous Substances Directive (76/464/EEC) when it is repealed in 2013. Dangerous Substances will be split between those identified as Specific Pollutants or Priority Substances.