Background and Methods
In 2012, a proposal was published with 15 additional priority substances to be amended to
the water framework directive (COM(2011)876). In directive 2013/39/EU a list of
priority substances to be amended to the water framework directive was published.
Diclofenac, 17-alpha-ethinylestradiol and 17-beta-estradiol were not included in this list
but were instead added to a watch list. Within the screening program of 2012 SWECO
Environment has had the assignment from the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency
to measure the occurrence of these 15 substances in surface waters of Sweden to
investigate if these are of national or regional interest.
Given the scope of the study, and in order to facilitate data evaluation, two clearly stated
objectives were decided upon:
•To assess the geographical variability of additional WFD priority substances in
Sweden on a large scale
•To assess to what degree the additional priority substances will affect the chemical
status of surface waters in Sweden.
The screening involved water sampling (direct water samples and passive samplers -
POCIS and SPMD) at 73 inland (limnic) and 11 coastal locations, and 17 samples of
biota. Sampling was done on two occasions in 2012 and 2013. The sampling stations
were mostly situated downstream waste water treatment plants (WWTPs). Sampling
followed a predetermined sampling plan which included quality assurance procedures.
All substances were extracted and analysed for the 15 substances using pre-determined
analytical protocols. Quality assurance procedures (e.g. EN ISO/IEC) were used for all
analytical work. Despite this, target LOQ was not achieved in all cases. The presence of
estrogenic substances in water was evaluated with a cell based test system (ER-CALUX).
Metals were used as reference substances.
Results and conclusions
In the case of substances that were often above LOQ (diklofenac, terbutryne and 17betaestradiol
equivalents using CALUX) there were no clear geographical patterns on a
national level. When comparing results upstream and downstream of WWTPs, it was
obvious that outgoing waste water was a major source of several substances to surface
water systems. The clearest exception was dichlorvos. The results also indicated that
metal concentrations were not in general correlated to the occurrence of the investigated
The substances that most often occurred above AA-EQS were dichlorvos (ca. 10% of the
samples) and cubytrune (ca. 5%). Furthermore, 17-beta-estradiol equivalents, 17-alfaethinylestradiole
and diclofenac occurred above the earlier suggested AA-EQS
(COM(2011)876) in 10%, 8% and 3% of the inland water samples respectively.
In total, AA-EQS was exceeded in approximately 10% of the sampling points of the
inland water systems. If 17-beta-estradiol equivalents, 17-alfa-ethinylestradiole and
diklofenac were included this number would increase to approximately 20%. In coastal
waters, AA-EQS was exceeded in approximately 40% of the sampling points if 17-betaestradiol
equivalents, 17-alfa-ethinylestradiole and diklofenac were included, although it
should be noted that only 11 coastal sampling points were included in the study. The AAEQS
was exceeded in approximately 20% of the fish samples.
It was also evident that the variability between sampling points was much greater than the
variability between 2012 and 2013. This would tentatively indicate a low temporal
variability in surface waters of these substances.
•Heptachlor and heptachlor epoxide need to be measured in a limited number of
fish samples, with a more sensitive analytical method
•Better analytical techniques needs to be developed for 17-alfa-ethinylestradiol,
17-beta-estradiol, cypermethrin and dichlorvos
•A follow up study should include fewer sampling stations, measurements with a
higher temporal resolution for water sampling (at least monthly) and possibly
the following substances:
-dichlorvos (all waters)
-cybutryne (all waters)
-17-beta-estradiol equivalents measured with ER-CALUX (all waters)
-17-alfa-ethinylestradiol and 17beta-estradiol (all waters)
-cypermethrin (coastal waters, could include development of analytical
-diclofenac (all waters)
-PFOS (all waters) (could be replaced with a compilation of literature
-HBCDs (in fish with high fat content, e.g. eel)
•A separate study could also focus on the sources of the substances that are
identified as important.
2014. , 115 p.