UE - Nitrate pollution falling, but greater efforts still needed to meet water quality standards across the EU

The report shows that the implementation of legislation to prevent nitrates from agricultural sources polluting ground and surface waters is proving effective.
Friday 12 February 2010 (8 years 6 months 7 days ago)
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A European Commission report published today reveals that nitrate levels in waters across the EU are falling. The report shows that the implementation of legislation to prevent nitrates from agricultural sources polluting ground and surface waters is proving effective. However, in some regions, nitrate concentrations exceed EU water quality standards and farmers need to continue to adopt more sustainable practices.

The report reveals a number of regions where nitrate levels are worrying. High nitrate concentrations are found in groundwater in parts of Estonia, south-east Netherlands, Belgium (Flanders), UK (England), several parts of France, northern Italy, north-east Spain, south-east Slovakia, southern Romania, Malta and Cyprus. Particularly high concentrations are found in surface waters in Malta, UK (England), Belgium (Flanders) and France (Brittany).

According to the report some 15% of groundwater monitoring stations and 3% of surface stations found nitrate concentrations above the water quality standard of 50 mg/l.

The report notes growing interest from farmers in innovative feeding methods which reduce nutrient excretion as well as in new technologies such as manure processing. Techniques range from simple separation into solids and liquids, to more advanced techniques processing the slurry into clean water and high quality organic fertilisers. This is often combined with techniques for energy recovery. Groups of farmers have invested in cooperative projects, notably in Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain.

http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/10/154&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en

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