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The Water Framework Directive (Classification, Priority Substances and Shellfish Waters) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015

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Environmental Standards for Priority Substances and other Substances

Table 47
Environmental quality standards for priority substances and other substances for which standards have been set at EU-level
Column 1Column 2Column 3Column 4Column 5Column 6Column 7Column 8Column 9
NumberName of substanceChemical Abstracts Service numberDate from which standards applyAll rivers and lakesAll transitional and coastal watersEQS Biota(11)
AA-EQS (µg/l)(1) Inland surface waters(2)MAC-EQS (µg/l)(3) Inland surface waters(2)AA-EQS (µg/l)(1)MAC-EQS (µg/l)(3)

This parameter is the EQS expressed as an annual average value (AA-EQS). Unless otherwise specified, it applies to the total concentration of all isomers.


Inland surface waters encompass rivers and lakes and related artificial or heavily modified water bodies.


This parameter is the Environmental Quality Standard expressed as a maximum allowable concentration (MAC-EQS). Where the MAC-EQS are marked as “not applicable”, the AA-EQS values are considered protective against short-term pollution peaks in continuous discharges since they are significantly lower than the values derived on the basis of acute toxicity.


For the group of priority substances covered by brominated diphenylethers (No 5), the EQS refers to the sum of the concentrations of congener numbers 28, 47, 99, 100, 153 and 154.


For cadmium and its compounds (No 6) the EQS values vary dependent upon the hardness of the water as specified in five class categories (class 1: <40mg CaCO3/l, class 2: 40 to <50mg CaCO3/l, class 3: 50 to <100mg CaCO3/l, class 4: 100 to <200mg CaCO3/l and class 5: ≥200mg CaCO3/l).


This substance is not a priority substance but one of the other pollutants for which the EQS are identical to those laid down in the legislation that applied prior to 13 January 2009.


No indicative parameter is provided for this group of substances. The indicative parameter(s) must be defined through the analytical method.


DDT total comprises the sum of the isomers 1,1,1-trichloro-2,2 bis (p-chlorophenyl) ethane (CAS number 50-29-3; EU number 200-024-3); 1,1,1-trichloro-2 (o-chlorophenyl)-2-(p-chlorophenyl) ethane (CAS number 789-02-6; EU number 212-332-5); 1,1-dichloro-2,2 bis (p-chlorophenyl) ethylene (CAS number 72-55-9; EU number 200-784-6); and 1,1-dichloro-2,2 bis (p-chlorophenyl) ethane (CAS number 72-54-8; EU number 200-783-0).


There is insufficient information available to set a MAC-EQS for these substances.


For the group of priority substances of polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) (No 28), the biota EQS and corresponding AA-EQS in water refer to the concentration of benzo(a)pyrene, on the toxicity of which they are based. Benzo(a)pyrene can be considered as a marker for the other PAHs, hence only benzo(a)pyrene needs to be monitored for comparison with the biota EQS or the corresponding AA-EQS in water.


Unless otherwise indicated, the biota EQS relate to fish. An alternative biota taxon, or another matrix, may be monitored instead, as long as the EQS applied provides an equivalent level of protection. For substances numbered 15 (Fluoranthene) and 28 (PAHs), the biota EQS refers to crustaceans and molluscs. For the purpose of assessing chemical status, monitoring of Fluoranthene and PAHs in fish is not appropriate. For substance number 37 (Dioxins and dioxin-like compounds), the biota EQS relates to fish, crustaceans and molluscs, in line with section 5.3 of the Annex to Commission Regulation (EU) No 1259/2011 of 2 December 2011 amending Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006 as regards maximum levels for dioxins, dioxin-like PCBs and non-dioxin-like PCBs in foodstuffs (OJ L 320, 3.12.2011, P.18).


These EQS refer to bioavailable concentrations of the substances.


PCDD: polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins; PCDF: polychlorinated dibenzofurans; PCB-DL: dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls; TEQ: toxic equivalents according to the World Health Organisation 2005 Toxic Equivalence Factors.

Application of the standards set out in Table 47

For any given surface water body, applying the AA-EQS means that, for each representative monitoring point within the water body, the arithmetic mean of the concentrations measured at different times during the year does not exceed the standard.

The calculation of the arithmetic mean, the analytical method used and, where there is no appropriate analytical method meeting the minimum performance criteria, the method of applying a standard must be in accordance with implementing acts adopting technical specifications for chemical monitoring and quality of analytical results, in accordance with the Water Framework Directive.

For any given surface water body, applying the MAC-EQS means that the measured concentration at any representative monitoring point within the water body does not exceed the standard.

However, in accordance with section 1.3.4. of Annex V to the Water Framework Directive, the Department may introduce statistical methods, such as a percentile calculation, to ensure an acceptable level of confidence and precision for determining compliance with the MAC-EQS. Where the Department introduces statistical methods, such methods must apply with rules laid down in accordance with the examination procedure referred to in Article 9(2) of Directive 2008/105/EC.

With the exception of cadmium, lead, mercury and nickel (hereinafter “metals”) the standards set out in Table 47 are expressed as total concentrations in the whole water sample. In the case of metals the standards refer to the dissolved concentration i.e. the dissolved phase of a water sample obtained by filtration through a 0.45 µm filter or any equivalent pre-treatment, or, where specifically indicated, to the bioavailable concentration.

The Department may, when assessing the monitoring results against the standards, take into account:

  • natural background concentrations for metals and their compounds, if they prevent compliance with the standard; and

  • hardness, pH, dissolved organic carbon or other water quality parameters that affect the bioavailability of metals, the bioavailable concentrations being determined using appropriate bioavailability modelling.

22/12/15 onwards0.
5Brominated diphenylethers(4)32534-81-914/09/15-21/12/150.0005not applicable0.0002not applicable
22/12/15 onwardsnot applicable0.14not applicable0.0140.0085
6Cadmium and its compounds (depending on water hardness classes)(5)7440-43-9

≤ 0.08

(class 1)

≤ 0.45

(class 1)


≤ 0.45

(class 1)


(class 2)


(class 2)


(class 2)


(class 3)


(class 3)


(class 3)


(class 4)


(class 4)


(class 4)


(class 5)


(class 5)


(class 5)

6aCarbon-tetrachloride(6)56-23-512not applicable12not applicable



9Chlorpyrifos (Chlorpyrifos-ethyl)2921-88-
9aCyclodiene pesticides:Σ=0.01not applicableΣ=0.005not applicable
9bDDT total(6) (8)not applicable0.025not applicable0.025not applicable
Para-para-DDT(6)50-29-30.01not applicable0.01not applicable
101,2-Dichloroethane107-06-210not applicable10not applicable
11Dichloro-methane75-09-220not applicable20not applicable
12Di(2-ethylhexyl)-phthalate (DEHP)117-81-71.3not applicable1.3not applicable
22/12/15 onwards0.00630.120.00630.1230
20Lead and its compounds7439-92-114/09/15-21/12/157.2not applicable7.2not applicable
22/12/15 onwards1.2(12)141.314
21Mercury and its compounds7439-97-60.070.0720
22Naphthalene91-20-314/09/15-21/12/152.4not applicable1.2not applicable
22/12/15 onwards21302130
23Nickel and its compounds7440-02-014/09/15-21/12/1520not applicable20not applicable
22/12/15 onwards4(12)348.634






140-66-90.1not applicable0.01not applicable
26Pentachlorobenzene608-93-50.007not applicable0.0007not applicable
28Polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAH)(10)-not applicablenot applicablenot applicablenot applicable


22/12/15 onwards1.7 x 10-40.271.7 x 10-40.0275
Benzo(b)fluor-anthene205-99-214/09/15-21/12/15Σ=0.03not applicableΣ=0.03not applicable
22/12/15 onwardssee footnote 100.017see footnote 100.017see footnote 10
Benzo(k)fluor-anthene207-08-914/09/15-21/12/15Σ=0.03not applicableΣ=0.03not applicable
22/12/15 onwardssee footnote 100.017see footnote 100.017see footnote 10
Benzo(g,h,i)-perylene191-24-214/09/15-21/12/15Σ=0.02not applicableΣ=0.02not applicable
22/12/15 onwardssee footnote 108.2 x 10-3see footnote 108.2 x 10-4see footnote 10
Indeno(1,2,3-cd)-pyrene193-39-514/09/15-21/12/15Σ=0.02not applicableΣ=0.02not applicable
22/12/15 onwardssee footnote 10not applicablesee footnote 10not applicablesee footnote 10
29aTetrachloroethylene(6)127-18-410not applicable10not applicable
29bTrichloroethylene(6)79-01-610not applicable10not applicable
30Tributyltin compounds (Tributhyltin-cation)36643-28-40.00020.00150.00020.0015
31Trichlorobenzenes12002-48-10.4not applicable0.4not applicable
32Trichloromethane67-66-32.5not applicable2.5not applicable
33Trifluralin1582-09-80.03not applicable0.03not applicable
34Dicofol115-32-222/12/18 onwards1.3 x 10-3not applicable(9)3.2 x 10-5not applicable(9)33
35Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid and its derivatives (PFOS)1763-23-122/12/18 onwards6.5 x 10-4361.3 x 10-47.29.1
36Quinoxyfen124495-18-722/12/18 onwards0.152.70.0150.54
37Dioxins and dioxin-like compoundsSee footnote 9 in Annex X to Directive 2000/60/EC22/12/18 onwardsnot applicablenot applicableSum of PCDD +PCDF+PCB-DL 0.0065 µ TEQ (13)
38Aclonifen74070-46-522/12/18 onwards0.120.120.0120.012
39Bifenox42576-02-322/12/18 onwards0.0120.040.00120.004
40Cybutryne28159-98-022/12/18 onwards0.00250.0160.00250.016
41Cypermethrin52315-07-822/12/18 onwards8 x 10-56 x 10-48 x 10-66 x 10-5
42Dichlorvos62-73-722/12/18 onwards6 x 10-47 x 10-46 x 10-57 x 10-5
43Hexabromo-cyclododecane (HBCDD)See footnote 11 in Annex X to Directive 2000/60/EC22/12/18 onwards0.00160.50.00080.05167
44Heptachlor and heptachlor epoxide76-44-8 /1024-57-322/12/18 onwards2 x 10-73 x 10-41 x 10-83 x 10-56.7 x 10-3
45Terbutryn886-50-022/12/18 onwards0.0650.340.00650.034

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