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In its initial, or "first reading," report on a proposed European Union (EU) groundwater protection law, the Environment Committee of the European Parliament on March 16 advised EU member states to "focus on what is important to a particular groundwater body, the risks posed by pollutants and how quality thresholds are measured," according to a press statement issued by the Parliament.
The current EU groundwater protection directive was adopted in 1980 but is scheduled to be repealed in 2013, when groundwater protection will be provided under the 2000 EU Water Framework Directive and, if adopted, the proposed new law. As proposed, the new directive would establish criteria for assessing the chemical composition of groundwater but would not set Europeanwide water quality standards, which individual member states would be required to establish individually, the press statement said.
The European Commission then would decide whether to propose Europeanwide standards based on the criteria set by the member states, the statement says. The Environment Committee report stresses that the new groundwater protection directive should be framed to provide at least the same level of protection as the current law, the statement says. It also urges EU member states to adopt groundwater quality standards based on sound criteria for the protection of human health and the environment, the statement said.