New Waste Water Emission Standards for the European Chemical Industry

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The Official Journal of the European Union published today the Best Available Techniques (BAT) conclusions for Common Waste Water and Waste Gas Treatment/Management Systems in the Chemical Sector. These BAT conclusions address a number of issues relevant for all chemical installations covered by the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED):

  • environmental management systems
  • waste water management, collection, and treatment
  • waste gas management and collection
  • diffuse emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOC) to air
  • odour emissions
  • noise emissions

The BAT conclusions for Common Waste Water and Waste Gas Treatment/Management Systems in the Chemical Sector include, among other things, 23 conclusions on Best Available Techniques, of which 6 relate to emissions to water with a total of 9 BAT-associated emission levels (BAT-AELs) for direct discharges to a receiving water body (for total organic carbon/chemical oxygen demand, total suspended solids, total (inorganic) nitrogen, total phosphorus, absorbable organically bound halogens, chromium, copper, nickel, and zinc).

BAT conclusions are the technical basis for national authorities in EU countries to set permit conditions for producers in the relevant field, as stipulated by the IED. Best available techniques conclusions aim at achieving a high level of protection of the environment under economically and technically viable conditions.

On 30 May 2016, the European Commission adopted Best Available Techniques (BAT) conclusions for Common Waste Water and Waste Gas Treatment/Management Systems in the Chemical Sector, following respective positive votes of the Regulatory Committee foreseen in Article 75 of the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) 2010/75/EU.

Background information

The aforementioned BAT conclusions constitute the ninth of a series of Commission Implementing Decisions adopted under the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) 2010/75/EU. The IED regulates emissions to air, water and soil of about 50 000 (agro)industrial installations across the EU. The next BAT conclusions expected to be adopted in 2016/17 concern non-ferrous metals industries, intensive rearing of poultry or pigs, and large combustion plants.

BAT conclusions are part of BAT reference documents (BREFs) which are the result of an information exchange carried out within Technical Working Groups that bring together representatives of EU countries, industry, environmental NGOs and other services of the European Commission .The JRC's European Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Bureau (EIPPCB) manages and steers this information exchange.

BAT cover both the technology used and the way in which an installation is designed, built, maintained, operated and decommissioned. A specific look into the emission levels and other environmental performance of several techniques is also included.

The JRC's European Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Bureau (EIPPCB) is currently working on the drawing up and review of several reference documents, namely on: large volume organic chemical industry, waste treatment industries, large combustion plants, food drink and milk, waste incineration, surface treatment using organic solvents (including wood and wood-products preservation with chemicals), and ferrous-metals processing.




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