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Impacts of waste emissions on soils (IWES)


Specific Objectives

Specific Objectives in 2002:

Objectives and deliverables of IWES have been updated through a consultation process with user DGs and will take into account new needs for action.
The work programme will then consolidate activities agreed to be continued in FP6 and finalise initiatives where engagements have been taken in the previous year. New lines for support will be explored.

Specific objectives are listed below. The first two bullets summarise steps that will be taken towards prioritisation in light of FP6.

- Consolidate activities dealing with soil protection along the lines of the new EU Thematic Strategy on soils, and continue the integration exercise started with the re-focussing of the activities of the Network of the European Soil Bureau;
- Integrate waste-related activities in the policy field of sustainable use of resources and management of waste, one of the four key environmental priorities of the 6th Environmental Action Programme. Develop use of Life Cycle and Material Flow analyses to support the environmental impact assessment of alternative waste management strategies;
- Provide support to the Sewage Sludge directive. The survey of available data on background levels of Heavy Metals and Organic Matter in European soils will be completed in 2002 (collaboration with the European Soil Bureau). It will be supported by a programme of in-situ analysis in one Member State coupled with harmonisation and standardisation initiatives;
- Consolidate the European Watershed Observational Network, by merging initiatives started previously into a single reference system serving as testing ground for the application and impacts of EU Directives (in collaboration with the JRC-Project n. 41). Reinforce links with Working Group 4.1 "Integrated Testing in Pilot River Basins" of the implementation project of the WFD Directive launched by DG ENV, and integrate activities with the EuroHARP initiative providing methodologies for the estimation of nutrient loads from agricultural activities;
- Collaborate with DGs on the definition of needs for database and query tools to support the reporting requirements of Directives. This will include the continued development and support of the FOCUS (Forum for the Co-ordination of Pesticide Fate Models and their Use) information system with the inclusion of the FOCUS surface water scenarios;
- Provide support to DG ENV in the stage II of the project investigating the impacts of waste recycling practices on the potential for dioxins and other POPs in wastes to enter the food chain. The coordination of the study will involve also the development of a sampling strategy and an analytical measurement programme (High-Resolution Mass Spectrometry laboratory) in order to provide a Union wide picture.
Planned Deliverables

Deliverables 2002:

Specific deliverables to DGs:
- Inputs to the harmonisation and standardisation for Solid Bio fuels (CEN/TC 335), Waste Recovered Fuels (CEN/TF/118), by representing the position of DG ENV A.2 in the CEN Technical Committees in collaboration with DG TREN;
- Organisation of the Workshop on the Biological Treatment of Biodegradable Waste, March 2002 (DG ENV A.2), and delivery of updated reports on Heavy Metals and Organic Matter in soils (DG ENV A.2 and B.1);
- Co-ordination of the study and analytical validation of data on fluxes of dioxins and POPs in wastes recycled in the agro-food industry (DG ENV C.2);
- Workshop with Candidate Countries on the environmental impact of toxic mining waste (DG ENV A.2);
- Reports on the Integrated Testing in the Network of Pilot River Basins in the context of the Technical Secretariat of WG 4.1 (DG ENV B.1);
- Maintaining the FOCUS information system and help desk (DG SANCO E.1).

As a result of the research:
- Method establishment and inter-comparisons for the determination of dioxin like compounds in selected waste streams;
- Validation of CONLIS, an informatics application for the regional, geo-referenced environmental impact assessment of pollutants in soils
(collaboration with the ECB);
- Organisation of a second symposium at the EGS General Assembly on catchments modelling in the context of the WFD Directive.

Summary of 2001 Deliverables: 31/12/2001

- Launch of an official enquiry among waste recovered fuel producers in Europe as a basis for a European-wide standardisation activity. Participation in CEN meetings on behalf of DG ENV.
- Joint organisation with DG Environment of the Workshop on "Harmonisation of Sampling and Analysis Methods for Heavy Metals, Organic Pollutants and Pathogens in Soil and Sludge", 8-9 February 2001. Involvement of CEN, ISO and Member State experts;
- Report to DG Env on the occurrence of organic compounds in sewage sludge, basic toxicological data, and risk assessments for the various pathways;
- Second report to DG ENV on the heavy metal content of European soils;
- Intermediate report to DG ENV on the testing of the HARP Guidelines 6 and 9 relative to non-point sources and retention processes in small watersheds (MicroHARP) in Finland (Savijoki) and in France (Cétrais and Coët-Dan);
- Kick-off meeting of the JRC project testing environmental impact of EU policies on three catchment in Greece, Poland and the UK (DG ENV premises, Bruxelles, 22 February 2001)
- Kick-off meeting of the Working Group 4.1 for the implementation of the WFD Directive (Ispra, 9-10 July 2001).

Output Indicators and Impact

- Organisation of the Technical Secretariat of the Working Group 4.1 of the Pilot Project for the Implementation of the WFD Directive: Help DG ENV and Member States in the testing of Guidance Documents at selected nodes of the Pilot River Basin Network;
- Participation in CEN working groups on Bio fuels and Waste Reused Fuels: Ensure the implementation of waste incineration legislation by the adoption of standards setting an appropriate threshold between waste and product;
- Harmonisation in connection with reuse of sludge in agriculture: Assist in the implementation of the Sewage Sludge Directive.
Summary of the project

Summary of the project:

The IWES project investigates the effects of changes in EU policy, land-use and climate on soil quality, and provides assistance in the implementation of EU legislation defining strategies for waste management. To decouple waste generation from economic growth, efforts are needed to integrate waste prevention objectives into the forthcoming Community's Integrated Product Policy. In 2002, attention will be placed on this issue in preparation for FP6.
The IWES contribution to ERA focuses on the development of instruments, such as databases and information systems, and benchmarking exercises of models to test impacts of environmental policies.

See also the related EU enlargement process pre-accession (pa) project.


Soil-related EU legislation has been adopted through measures directed primarily at the protection of air, water or within distinct sector policies.
Therefore, any work on soil should be closely co-ordinated with other EC policies such as water, waste and agriculture. The vision of soil protection in Europe is going to be reinforced by the forthcoming Communication from the Commission to the Council on the subject. Additionally, in the 6th Environmental Action Programme there is a specific chapter on soils. Policy areas of support include the new EC thematic strategy on soil, the Nitrate and the Water Framework Directives, and the Directive on Plant Protection Products. Other policies addressed by the IWES project comprise the Sewage Sludge Directive, the implementation of the Directive on Incineration of Wastes, the preparation of a Mining Waste Directive, and the implementation of the Community Strategy on Dioxins and PCBs.

Based on requirements of customer DGs, during 2002 emphasis is placed on the following themes:
- To investigate the impacts of current and proposed EU legislation on soil and water quality making use of an European observational network of case-study watersheds. The network will be used to clarify relationships between legislative goals and implemented measures;
- To assess the contribution of industrial and agricultural sectors to pollutants found in waste streams as a basis for environmental impact studies of alternative waste management strategies (waste minimisation, recycling and toxicity prevention);
- To contribute to the setting of regulatory threshold levels for pollutants in different types of sludge, and to assist in the standardisation work in the field of solid bio-fuels and waste recovered fuels;
- To develop spatial data banks and pan-European indices for an assessment of soil toxification and vulnerability in connection with the PECO project on toxic mining waste (PA n. 42). This will strengthen ongoing support to DG ENV in the context of the Enlargement policy.

Funding Scheme

JRC - Joint Research Centre research


Institute for Environment and Sustainability