The project developed innovative approaches and novel practical techniques to address the current fundamental scientific and methodological issues related to the evaluation if Good Environmental Status (GES) for Descriptor 8 of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive in national and European waters (EU, 2008).

This included

  1. The development, application and testing of different passive sampler (PS) materials, the study of their kinetic and equilibration behaviour in different matrices, the use of PS-based sampling techniques in both harbour and open sea sampling sites in the Belgian part of the North Sea (BPNS), and the development of state-of-the-art analytical techniques for legacy pollutants, priority substances and substances of emerging concern (organics: both hydrophobic and more soluble compounds and inorganics).
  2. Ecotoxicity testing of a wide range of detected single organic compounds and of enriched passive sampler extracts to represent environmentally relevant organic contaminant mixtures (ERCMs). The latter allowed the calculation of the "Margin of Safety” (MoS) of environmental samples. Also, an automated method for estimating the Predicted No Effect Concentration (PNEC) from a large ecotoxicity database was developed an applied to estimate single substance and mixture ecological risks for targeted compounds.
  3. Stable isotope analysis (carbon, nitrogen) of the collected suspended matter was performed to allow characterisation of its origin (marine or terrestrial).
  4. A dedicated hydrodynamic advective and sediment transport model was adapted to and optimized for the study area and contaminant fate processes were added, i.e. degradation and sorption to suspended matter to simulate contaminant transport, distribution and concentrations in the BPNS.

Altogether, the project provides a wide suite of ready-to-use novel methods for GES assessment and the basis for an integrated assessment framework based on passive sampling.

Project summary

Final report

Parmentier, K., Adamopoulou, A., Roose, P., Baetens, K., Lacroix G., Hansul S., Moeris, S., De Schamphelaere, K., Vanryckeghem, F., Demeestere, K., Vanhaecke, L., Huysman, S., Gaulier, C., Guo, W., Baeyens, W., Gao Y., Smedes, F. New Strategies for monitoring and risk assessment of Hazardous chemicals in the marine Environment with Passive Samplers. Final Report. Brussels : Belgian Science Policy Office 2020 – 136 p. (BRAINbe - (Belgian Research Action through Interdisciplinary Networks)).