Parliament adopts its position on the quality of surface waters and groundwater

Article European Law | 04/10/23 | 2 min. |

On 12 September, the European Parliament adopted its negotiating position on reducing pollution in Europe's groundwater and surface waters.


The goal of the European Commission's proposal of 26 October 2022 was to achieve the zero pollution objective of the European Green Deal. This Commission proposal aims to (i) reduce concentrations of acutely toxic and/or persistent chemicals in surface waters and groundwater, improve the quality of oceans, lakes, rivers, streams, estuaries and wetlands, (ii) make monitoring data more accessible and re-usable, (iii) instruct the authorities of the Member States to immediately inform the other Member States and the Commission in the event of exceptional circumstances of natural origin, (iv) work on monitoring tools and developing a policy response to problematic substances such as microplastics and antimicrobial resistance genes.


The MEPs are calling for regular updating of the EU's watch lists of substances that are hazardous to health or the environment, in order to keep pace with developments in new chemicals and scientific evidence. They are also calling for eternal pollutants (PFAS, for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) to be added to the list of pollutants. Other substances, including micro-plastics and antibiotic-resistant micro-organisms, should also be added to the list once suitable monitoring methods have been established. Finally, stricter standards should apply to certain pesticides (such as glyphosate and atrazine) and pharmaceuticals.


The Parliament believes that producers of polluting products should contribute financially to these monitoring activities, which are currently borne exclusively by the Member States.


The trialogues can begin once the Council of the European Union has adopted its position.


Reducing pollution in EU groundwater and surface waters | News | European Parliament (

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