Emerging pollutants in the waters of Galicia-Northern Portugal: new tools for risk management
About this good practice
This project was born from a cross-border collaborative network (partnership between 8 institutions, public and private, from the Northern region of Portugal and Galicia), in favour of a common strategy in response to the emerging pollutant’s problem. The purpose of the project is to identify the main emerging pollutants (EP) and their sources on the Northern Portugal and Galicia basins, besides to develop, implement and blend a couple of innovative multidisciplinary tools to mitigate the impact of the EP on these water bodies.
The project is developed through 5 groups of activities: definition of study areas for EP; the destination, transformation and modelling of EP behaviour – tools for its monitoring; development of nanotechnologies for the removal of EP in WWTPs; development of new modelling and ecotoxicological tools to assess the environmental risk of EP; organisation of environmental education activities and transfer of knowledge and technology from NOR-WATER.
Beyond the technological component, within the scope of this project was created a NOR-WATER NETWORK, with the aim of constituting a multidisciplinary public-private collaboration forum about EPs, with operational capacity and pro-active to facilitate the collaboration between its users and act as an engine and promoter of initiatives in this field. This cross-border network joins efforts to improve water quality and to enhance the implementation of the Water Framework Directive (WFD), at the cross-bord level
Total eligible funding: 579.475,41€
Evidence of success
The results of NOR-WATER are proof of the success achieved, with emphasis on the creation of the NOR-WATER Network that promotes multidisciplinary public-private collaboration and acts as an engine and promoter of initiatives in the field of EPs, with more than 20 participants. About 20 scientific articles have been published about the presence and behaviour of EPs and transformation products, nanotechnologies for wastewater treatment and ecotoxicological tools and environmental risk modelling.
Potential for learning or transfer
The development and sharing of new models, nanotechnologies for wastewater treatment and ecotoxicological tools to assess the environmental risk of EPs will allow the determination of the bioaccumulation factors of priority EPs and transformation products (such as chemicals derived from runoff after forest fires) and will allow the use of toxicokinetic models to adapt their behaviour in organisms.
Since the presence of PEs in the environment was not considered in the past, they have not been studied in depth at a scientific level. In 2015, the European Union implemented the “Watch List” (Decision 2015/495) to monitor, among others, these pollutants within the scope of the WFD, with a view to possible regulation in the future.
The challenge of responding to these pollutants (identification, mitigation of impacts and regulation) faced by Portugal is common to most European countries, so this good practice has great replication potential.