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nicvaliente Nov 04, 2016 07:27 PM
Hello everyone. I am doing a PhD in environmental chemistry at the University of Castilla-La Mancha (Spain). We are studying heavy metals in a protected wetland (Petrola Lake). Checking previous discussions in the forum, I have read that there is no specific normative establishing limits for heavy metal contamination in sediments and soils. Is it right? Then, I should check the different national rules, but I have no idea where I can find them, could someone help me?

On the other hand, is there any european directive concerning to heavy metal limits in water bodies from wetlands? or have we the same issue exposed for sediments/soils?

Thank you very much in advance!!
Replies (2)
EEA Nov 11, 2016 03:00 PM
Dear nicvaliente,

Unfortunately, we do not have systematic assessment of HM in wetlands and there are no common thresholds for these hazardous elements in the EU.

However, there is a good overview of the situation in different Member States by Claudio Carlon and his coworkers:

This inventory is from 2007, but to our knowledge this is the most up-to date of its kind.

The Water Framework Directive sets standards for freshwaters, transitional and coastal waters across the EU (2000/60/EC). Limits on metal concentrations are set by the Environmental Quality Standards Directive 2008/105/EC, amended by the Priority Standards Directive 2013/39/EU but these are mainly set in water (a few are in biota). Member States have the option of deriving environmental quality standards (EQS) in sediments or biota that are provide at least equivalent protection to the water EQS, but few of them have done that.
If countries have derived sediment EQS, these would be in national documents. Countries may now be reporting these to EU (via EEA Reportnet) as part of their second River Basin Management Plans, but reporting is on-going so we don’t have the information yet. Once prepared, the national documents should be accessible on the web: you could try searching for river basin management plans and environmental quality standards (in different languages).

Meanwhile, there is more experience of setting sediment quality guidelines by marine conventions, such as OSPAR and HELCOM, and in North America, e.g. http://helcom.fi/[…]/contaminants-in-sediment#Requirements https://c.ymcdn.com/[…]/sqgsummary.pdf

I hope this is helpful,

Kind regards,
nicvaliente Nov 14, 2016 02:21 PM
Thank you very much for such a huge information, the overview made by Claudio Carlon is simply what I was searching.

Regarding to the Directives, thanks for explaining them, sometimes it is a bit hard for people not used to. It is funny, in Spain we have a normative based on 2008/105/EC values, and it was published in 2015. For some compounds (eg Lead or Nickel), the reference values are the ones in 2008/105/EC, instead of 2013/39/EU values, logical?

Best regards and thank you very much again for your great help!