We detect pharmaceuticals, x-ray contrast media and endocrine disrupting chemicals in the water from the River Meuse in concentrations breaching our target values (0.1 µg/L) from the European River Memorandum (ERM). For these substances there are no water quality standards in Europe. From a precautionary perspective RIWA-Meuse wants emissions to be reduced so that target values will no longer be breached. These kind of substances should not be present in drinking water sources. The precautionary principle should also be the basis of water quality standards we want
After setting of the agenda now maintaining attention and finding solutions
For some time we have pushed for these new substances to be put on the agenda of governments and the International Meuse Commission. It involves substances like Metformin, Carbamazepine, Metoprolol, Ibuprofen and some five X-ray contrast media. Also we inform the general public through press releases and newsletters. We have taken the initiative for the drafting of a report on the state of the current knowledge on these substances in water by KWR Water Research Institute and the Foundation for Applied Water Research STOWA. This lead to the joint drafting of a water cycle management plan by the Dutch Water Authorities and Vewin. In the second generation of River Basin Management Plans under the Water Framework Directive new substances, amongst which are pharmaceuticals, are recognised as problematic and first steps towards monitoring and research etcetera are mentioned. In cooperation with Vewin we try to get this issue on the European agenda for actions like the strategic approach to pollution of water by pharmaceutical substances and the Review of the priority substances under the Water Framework Directive. Another step in our lobby is aimed at various parties in the medical circuit in which we try to raise awareness about the responsibility they have to contribute to reduction of emissions.