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An Introduction to Environmental Quality Standards for Metals

An Introduction to Environmental Quality Standards for Metals

In April 2015, Eurometaux, the European association of the non-ferrous metals industry, and ARCHE Consulting released their new video “An introduction to Environmental Quality Standards for Metals”.

Targeting a non-specialist audience from both regulators and industry, the video provides an accessible introduction to environmental quality standards (EQS) for metals, which are an essential part of the EU work to protect the quality of its surface waters. In particular, the video explains and demonstrates the principles of metals bioavailability, and how this can be used to calculate site-specific EQSs, or bioavailable metal concentrations, and how environmental compliance can be achieved in a tiered approach. Accounting for bioavailability is crucial, as it is recognized that the way in which metals and nickel behave and impact the aquatic environment is influenced by the chemical properties of the receiving water.

The video also serves as a reminder that user-friendly tools such as Bio-met (developed by Arche/WCA) have been developed to effectively calculate and predict the bioavailability and toxicity of nickel and other metals to the aquatic ecosystem. Properly accounting for bioavailability is essential to assess metals toxicity and for checking compliance with the bioavailable nickel EQS of 4µg/Liter, introduced by the EU in the 2013 revision of the EQS Directive.

More information on the derivation of the EU nickel EQS is available in the NiPERA Inc. Fact Sheet.