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Horizontal Standards on Organic Micropollutants for Implementation of EU Directives on Sludge, Soil and Treated Bio-waste

Final Report Summary - HORIZONTAL-ORG (Horizontal Standards on Organic Micropollutants for Implementation of EU Directives on Sludge, Soil and Treated Bio-waste)

The HORIZONTAL-ORG project was elaborated as part of the broader 'Horizontal' project and was embedded within the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) structure. The project objective was to develop horizontal and harmonised European standards on organic compounds of sludge, soil and treated biowaste. Their regulation through European Directives and the necessary decisions related to their different uses and disposal would therefore be facilitated.

The project focused on the development of horizontal standards for organic pollutants, including sampling and sample handling. The validation activities were undertaken simultaneously for inorganic, physical and organic parameters. Around 34 000 individual measurement values were processed in total. A pre-treatment standard was planned to be prepared separately for inorganic substances and organic parameters. However, it was later decided that the procedures could be merged in one protocol and further research and exchange was required in this area to ensure proper linking of standards.

In spite of the severe delays that were experienced during the project execution, HORIZONTAL-ORG accomplished numerous achievements. Firstly, the option to develop truly horizontal standards for soil, sludge, treated biowaste and waste became feasible. Moreover, all organic parameters, with the exception of pharmaceuticals, were taken into consideration to generate the performance characteristics of the developed methods through the elaboration of a validation study. The necessary work on organic micropollutants (OM) was completed. It was also noted that sampling had to be addressed in a generic manner and existing methods were evaluated during the project. Finally, the structure-activity modelling approach was utilised to identify compounds whose variability in concentration in a given matrix could correlate with parameters, such as pH and carbon concentration, which could be easily measured at a low cost.