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  • VIEWPOINT OF PARTNERS

    -Sophie Auconie\Member European parliament
    "I want to congratulate Onema on the extensive work done in its Micropollutants programme. Though the substances are minute, they can have considerable impact on both public health and aquatic environments..."

    -Martin Arnould\WWF
    "Contrary to the Anglo-Saxon countries, the collective reaction in France to agricultural and medicinal residues is very weak. In some cases, we may even speak of a culture of denial. However, the situation is slowly changing..."

An exceptional monitoring effort for micropollutants

An exceptional effort was made to measure micropollutants in aquatic environments. The goal of the project, funded by Onema and co-managed with the Ecology ministry in 2012, was to identify new substances requiring priority monitoring in France.

The Ecology ministry launched a national action plan 2010-2013 to protect aquatic environments againstcontamination by micropollutants. To that end, a national forward-looking study on micropollutant monitoring, funded essentially by Onema and involving some 20 scientific partners, was launched in early 2012. As the project manager, Onema tasked three public agencies (Ineris, BRGM and Ifremer) with carrying out the study. Between April and November 2012, a number of sampling campaigns were run in France, including three on surface waters,one on coastal waters and one on lakes. The study also addressed groundwater in the overseas territories. The goal of the analysis work was first to improve knowledge on micropollutants, particularly emerging substances, and secondly to collect reliable data on substances already monitored in the past, but using unsuitable methods.

186 substances at 250 monitoring points

Given the high number of pollutants likely to be released to aquatic environments, Onema and Ineris set up a committee of experts to define selection criteria and a method to determine the priority substances requiring monitoring. A total of 186 substances belonging to various families of emerging pollutants (pesticides, medicinal residues, biocides, etc.) were selected for scrutiny at some 250 monitoring points selected by the Water agencies and Water offices. Ineris coordinated the logistics and dataprocessing of the required analyses and the Aquaref consortium was tasked with selecting the research laboratories. The results should be available in 2013 and will assist in drafting a new list of substances to be monitored on the national level starting in 2014.

Contact : pierre-francois.staub@onema.fr