ICPR – International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine

202. Evaluation Report on Industrial Chemicals

Industrial chemicals are substances used as components, additives or admixtures in industrial production processes. The industrial chemicals concerned by this report are organic compounds of xenobiotic origin, such as solvants, surfactants, flame retardants, adhesives and pigments. These substances may directly or, when passing through wastewater treatment plants, indirectly flow into surface waters. On the other hand, they may also be contained in products released into waters during their product life, recycling or disposal.

Considering the high production volumes of these substances and the large number of production and location sites it is not unexpected that individual substances are detected in surface waters. Apart from the characteristics aimed at for their individual uses, may industrial chemicals also have an undesired environmental impact on sensitive water organisms. Therefore, for some chemicals, endocrine disrupting properties already have an effect in low concentrations of less than 1 µg/l. 

Strategy aimed at reducing inputs of micro-pollutants

Within the strategy aimed at reducing inputs of micro-pollutants originating from urban and industrial waste water evaluation reports are being drafted for 10 groups of substances and are aimed at summarizing scientific and technical facts and at pointing out gaps of knowledge. Also, the evaluation reports present a variety of possible measures from the source (e.g. registration of substances, limitation of uses) to technical measures in crucial wastewater treatment plants (e.g. introduce a further treatment stage). The “Conclusions” of the evaluation reports list the most efficient measures to be further investigated into within a holistic ICPR strategy.  However, these measures are no recommendations the ICPR addresses to its member states. Measures listed in this chapter will be introduced into a survey report of all measures in order to be able to take into account eventual effects of measures on different groups of substances when proceeding with a final evaluation. Based on the final evaluation of all measures the ICPR will determine recommendations of measures for the Member States.