Surface water chemical status

For surface waters, good chemical status means that no concentrations of priority substances exceed the relevant Environmental Quality Standards (EQS) as established in the Environmental Quality Standards Directive 2008/105/EC. EQS aim to protect the most sensitive species from direct toxicity, including predators and humans via secondary poisoning.

A smaller group of priority hazardous substances were identified in the Priority Substances Directive as uPBT (ubiquitous (present, appearing or found everywhere), persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic). The uPBTs are mercury, brominated diphenyl ethers (pBDE), tributyltin and certain polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

The dashboards below provide an overview of the different results related to chemical status. Further dashboards and items are available in the WISE Freshwater resource catalogue.

Caution is advised when comparing Member States and when comparing the first and second RBMPs, as the results are affected by the methods Member States have used to collect data and often cannot be compared directly.


Further information is provided in a Draft guide to dashboards on delineation of water bodies, in chapter 1 of the EEA report European waters – assessment of status and pressures 2018, and section 2.2 Characterisation of surface waters of the WFD 2016 reporting guidance.

Related resources


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