ICPR – International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine

181. Strategy for micro-pollutants - Strategy for municipal and industrial wastewater -

Wastewater today contains different micropollutants, such as certain household chemicals, personal care products, detergents, pharmaceuticals such as antibiotics and hormones and radio-opaque substances. In waters, they are detectable in very low quantities and may cause problems, such as detrimentally affect life in the Rhine and people. Furthermore, pesticides and biocides diffusely input into waters also figure among the micorpollutants.

A comprehensive strategy aims at a future reduction of micropollutant inputs from municipal and industrial wastewater. This strategy will comprehensively describe the problems and aims at filling as many gaps of knowledge as possible with respect to the ecotoxicological assessment of many micropollutants to be found in the environment.
Within this strategy, quantities consumed and applied, pathways of input into waters, monitoring data concerning surface waters, groundwater and drinking water as well as quality criteria and possible measures will be analysed for 10 substance groups. After an assessment of all data the most efficient measures per group of substance will be determined. Among them:

Measures at the source
Reduce water pollution e.g. by extending environmental impact assessment or informing about appropriate disposal.

Information of the public
The public will be informed about the environmental relevance and appropriate use and disposal.

Decentralized measures
Application of further procedures to eliminate micropollutants (e.g. ozonisation, use of activated carbon powder) to individual split wastewater streams.

Centralized measures
Reduction of substance loads input to waters by applying extensive wastewater treatment procedures in individual large wastewater treatment plants (e.g. > 100,000 PE) treating a large part of the entire wastewater load.

Monitoring and analysis programmes
Adapt monitoring and analysis programmes to the main stream of the Rhine and its tributaries.

Adapt assessment systems
Derive environmental quality standards; take into account active substances when assessing the ecological and chemical state of waters in the Rhine catchment.