Setting the standards for soil and biowaste Work on a new set of standards regarding contamination in soil, sludge and biowaste, in line with major standardisation protocols, is set to add a cleaner dimension to the environment. Climate Change and Environment © Shutterstock European legislation stipulates continuous monitoring of sewage sludge and biowaste to control release of contaminants into soil, crops, water and the environment on the whole. Under this premise, the EU-funded project 'Horizontal standards on organic micropollutants for implementation of EU directives on sludge, soil and treated bio-waste' (Horizontal-ORG) aimed to develop standards for organic compounds in sludge, soil and biowaste. The project fell under the umbrella Horizontal project which formed part of the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN). Within this framework, Horizontal-ORG sought to produce standardised methods for sampling and analysing organic micropollutants in line with the format of the CEN and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). It worked intensively on elaborating horizontal standards for organic pollutants, outlining organic, physical and inorganic parameters, as well as processing some 34,000 measurements in total to achieve its aims. Through its research, Horizontal-ORG set the stage for developing these horizontal standards and demonstrated the feasibility of such an ambitious project. The research considered all organic parameters except pharmaceuticals and undertook the required validation studies. The project team also closely looked at existing sampling methods and recommended how sampling should be undertaken. With such improved standards, pollution in soil and wastewater could be effectively addressed and monitored, leading to a cleaner European environment to live in.