Upheaval planned for EU bathing water rules

New directive proposal slashes sampling parameters, introduces beach "profiles", flexible sampling

The European Commission today proposed an overhaul of the EU bathing water directive, one of the bloc's oldest and most transgressed items of environmental legislation. The changes would introduce a broader concept of beach management, drastically reducing the range of pollutants monitored and allowing authorities to reduce sampling frequency for consistently good-quality waters.

Most radical of the Commission's proposed changes is the scrapping of tests for 19 different pollutant parameters and their replacement by just two bacterial measurements - intestinal enterococci (IE) and Escherichia coli (EC). No increase in the number of bathing waters tested is proposed.

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