Emissions to water of hazardous substances from industry
Assessment made on 01 May 2004
ClassificationWater (Primary theme)
- WHS 009
Policy issue: Are discharges of hazardous substances from industrial sources to water decreasing?
Emissions of heavy metals from industrial sources have decreased in countries in the OSPAR area.
Emissions of heavy metals from industrial sources have decreased in the Flemish region.
However due to variations in the industrial sources taken into account and/or river flows, there is a significant variability from year to year in the reported industrial emissions of heavy metals and hazardous substances in these regions.
The manufacturing industries are responsible for large emission loads regarding various determinands of which for example 4 heavy metals in 6 EEA countries for which data are available (see figure 1). The manufacture of products results in many and varied emissions, depending on the products being manufactured and the processes and chemicals used. Emissions to water include heavy metals (e.g. cadmium, mercury), organic micropollutants, suspended solids and organic matter. Manufacture processing also has the risk of fire, explosions and spills and there is a need to dispose of contaminated sludge from waste treatment plants that all may also be a source of pollution of water. Variations in the emissions reported may be due to improved treatment but also to a certain extent to variations in the number of industrial sites included in the reporting (effect of threshold on sites that are close to this and included one year and not the following) or, when the data are based on measurements in rivers (i.e. load oriented), to variations in the river flow.
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This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe’s environment.
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