Nutrients Pollution in Water Bodies: Related Legislation in Europe and the United States

Nutrients Pollution in Water Bodies: Related Legislation in Europe and the United States

Ángeles Val del Río (Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Spain), Paula Carrera Fernández (Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Spain), José Luis Campos Gómez (University Adolfo Ibáñez, Chile) and Anuska Mosquera-Corral (Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1037-6.ch002
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Abstract

The pollution of water bodies by an excess of nutrients (N and P) is a worldwide problem with effects on the human health, ecosystems status, climate change, etc. To face with this important issue different regulations were promulgated by the countries, sometimes based on the results from international conventions and programmes. In this chapter, a review of the laws and regulations that affect the discharge of nitrogen and phosphorus is addressed, focused in the case of Europe and the United States. Finally, a brief explanation about international initiatives was performed to understand the global framework concerning nutrients pollution.
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European Union

The European Union (EU) has set up some policy instruments (summarized in Table 1) to protect water bodies from nutrients pollution provoked by nitrogen and phosphorus contained in effluents discharge. A specific directive is devoted regulating nitrogen discharges (e.g. Nitrates Directive (91/676/EEC)) and although a particular directive is not available for phosphorous discharges, some European Member States address the phosphorus environmental detrimental effects by the implementation of the Nitrates Directive (91/676/EEC), the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC) and the Industrial Emissions Directive (2010/75/EU).

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