DEFINITIONS CONCERNING SURFACE WATER AND GROUNDWATER PROTECTION (INTEGRAL WATER POLICY) (Chapters 2.3, 4.2, 5.3 and 6.2 (surface water) and 2.4, 4.3, 5.52, 5.53, 5.54, 5.55 and 6.9 (groundwater))
INTEGRAL WATER POLICY (EC Directive 2000/60/EC of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy)
The terms and definitions stated in Article 3, 2, of the Decree of 18 July 2003 concerning integral water policy and the definitions stated in Article 2 of the Decree of 24 January 1984 concerning measures related to groundwater management also apply to this Order.
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BATHING WATER QUALITY (Directive 2006/7/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 February 2006 concerning the management of bathing water quality and repealing Directive 76/160/EEC) (Section 2.3.3, Section 2.3.7, Article and Part II of Appendix 2.3.3)

1 “surface water”: inland waters, with the exception of groundwater, transitional water and coastal waters;

2 “inland water”: all standing or flowing water on the surface of the land and all groundwater on the landward side of the baseline from which the breadth of territorial waters is measured;

3 “transitional waters”: bodies of surface water in the vicinity of river mouths which are partly saline in character as a result of proximity to coastal waters but which are substantially influenced by freshwater flows;

4 “coastal water”: surface waters, located on the landward side of the baseline from which the breadth of territorial waters is measured, extending if necessary to the outer limit of transitional waters;

5 “river basin”: the area of land from which all water running over the surface flows, via a series of streams, rivers or lakes, into the sea via a river mouth, estuary or delta;

6 “permanent”: in relation to a bathing prohibition or advice against bathing, lasting at least one whole bathing season;

7 "large number": in relation to bathers, a number which, at the time of designation as bathing water in accordance with the provisions of this Order, is considered to be large, having regard to past trends or to any infrastructure or facilities provided, or other measures taken to promote bathing;

8 "pollution": the presence of microbiological contamination or other organisms or waste affecting bathing water quality and presenting a risk to bathers' health stated in Articles, and and Article 1, 1, column A of Part II of Appendix 2.3.3;

9 “bathing season”: the period during which large numbers of bathers can be expected;

10 “management measures”: the following measures undertaken with respect to bathing water:


establishing and maintaining a bathing water profile;


establishing a monitoring calendar;


monitoring bathing water;


assessing bathing water quality;


classifying bathing water;


identifying and assessing causes of pollution that might affect bathing waters and impair bathers’ health


giving information to the public;


taking action to prevent bathers’ exposure to pollution;


taking action to reduce the risk of pollution;

11 "short-term pollution": microbiological contamination, as stated in Article 1, 1, column A of Part II of Appendix 2.3.3, that has clearly identifiable causes, is not normally expected to affect bathing water quality for more than approximately 72 hours after the bathing water quality is first affected and for which the Flanders Environment Agency has established procedures to predict and deal with in accordance with Article 4, of Part II of Appendix 2.3.3;

12 “abnormal situation”: an event or combination of events impacting on bathing water quality at the location concerned and not expected to occur on average more than once every four years;

13 “set of bathing water quality data”: data obtained in accordance with Article 2 of Part II of Appendix 2.3.3;

14 "bathing water quality assessment": the process of evaluating bathing water quality according to the assessment method stated in Article 4 of Part II of Appendix 2.3.3;

15 “cyanobacterial proliferation”: an accumulation of cyanobacteria in the form of a bloom, mat or scum.


1 groundwater quality standard: an environmental quality standard, expressed as the concentration of a particular pollutant, group of pollutants or indicator of pollution in groundwater, which should not be exceeded in order to protect human health and the environment;

2 background level: the concentration of a substance or the value of an indicator in a body of groundwater corresponding to no or only very minor anthropogenic alterations to undisturbed conditions;

3 threshold value: a groundwater quality standard for all pollutants, groups of pollutants and indicators of pollution for which it has been established, in accordance with the analysis of characteristics under Article 60 of the Decree of 18 July 2003 concerning the integral water policy, that bodies of groundwater or groups of bodies of groundwater run the risk of not achieving a good chemical status of the groundwater.


- “daily average”: the level or concentration determined on the basis of 24-hour sampling with a proportionate flow

- "monthly average": the value determined on the basis of the composition of all 24-hour samples with a proportional flow rate for the month concerned.


- "limit of detection": the output signal or the concentration above which it may be claimed with a stated level of confidence that a sample differs from a blank sample that does not contain a relevant quantity to be determined.

- "limit of determination": a stated multiple of the detection limit for a concentration of the quantity to be determined that can reasonably be determined with an acceptable level of accuracy and precision. The limit of determination can be calculated using a suitable standard or a suitable sample and can be obtained from the lowest calibration point on the calibration curve, with the exception of the blank.

- “reporting limit”: the value below which a component is reported as unquantifiable (“<“). This is equivalent to at least the limit of determination.



- “reference measurement method”: method that must be used to determine a particular parameter. Unless indicated otherwise, this method is described in the water analysis compendium (WAC). The compendium is a collection of methods for taking samples and carrying out measurements and analyses, which include European (EN), international (ISO) or other standardised methods or methods validated by the reference laboratory of the Flemish Region on behalf of the Government of Flanders. The compendium is approved by ministerial decision and its table of contents is published by excerpt in the Belgian Official Journal.

- "measurement uncertainty": a non-negative parameter that characterises the spread of the quantitative values assigned to a quantity to be measured, based on the information used. The measurement uncertainty specified in Appendix, Article 4 is half the length of an interval around the analysis result within which the actual value is expected to lie for a reliability level of 95%, and is expressed as a percentage of the analysis result. The measurement uncertainty is calculated according to a method stipulated by the minister.


- “urban waste water”: domestic waste water or a mixture of domestic waste water and/or industrial waste water and/or run-off rain water;

- “collection system”: a system of conduits which collects and conducts urban waste water

- “primary treatment”: the treatment of waste water by a physical and/or chemical process involving settlement of suspended solids, or other processes which the biochemical oxygen consumption of the incoming waste water before discharging is reduced in 5 days at 20C by at least 20%, and the total suspended solids in the incoming waste water are reduced by at least 50%;

- “secondary treatment”: treatment of waste water by a process generally involving biological treatment with secondary settlement, or another process whereby the values of the sectoral emission limit values for effluent water established in these regulations are respected;

- “appropriate treatment”: treatment of waste water by any process and/or disposal system, which after discharge allows the receiving waters to meet the relevant quality objectives and the relevant provisions of these regulations;;

- “sludge”: residual sludge whether treated or untreated from water treatment plants;

- “agglomeration”: an area where the population and/or the economic activities are sufficiently concentrated for urban waste water to be collected and conducted to an urban waste treatment plant or to a final discharge point;

- “vulnerable areas”: in accordance with Directive 91/271/EEC concerning the treatment of urban waste water, for the application of Section 2.3.6. and 5.3.1, vulnerable areas are considered to be a water mass included in the following groups:


natural freshwater lakes, other freshwater masses, estuaries and coastal waters which are eutrophic or may be eutrophic in the near future if protective measures are not taken;


surface waters intended for the catchment of drinking water, which could contain a higher nitrate concentration than is established in accordance with the immission standards in question if no measures are taken;


areas where further treatment to that specified in Section 5.3.1. is needed to comply with Directive 91/271/EEC.

With regard to group sub 1, the following elements can be taken into consideration when it is determined which nutrients must be reduced by further treatment:


lakes and rivers flowing into lakes, reservoirs or closed bays in which low water replenishment is established so accumulation can occur; in these areas phosphorous must also be removed from the waste water unless it can be demonstrated that its removal has no effect on the level of eutrophication; where discharges from large agglomerations take place, the removal of nitrogen can also be considered;


estuaries, bays and other coastal waters in which low water replenishment is established, or which contain large quantities of nutrients; discharges from small agglomerations in these areas are usually of less importance, but for large agglomerations phosphorous and/or nitrogen must also be removed unless it can be demonstrated that their removal has no effect on the level of eutrophication.

- “Population equivalent (P.E.): the organic biodegradable load having a five-day biochemical oxygen demand at 20C (BOC520) of 60 g oxygen per day.




"pH": acidity;


"BOC": biochemical oxygen consumption in 5 days at 20C;


"COC": the chemical oxygen consumption;


"CCl4 extractable substances": the level of non-polar hydrocarbons extractable with carbon tetrachloride;


"PCB": polychlorinated biphenyls;


"T.O.C.": the level of totally organic carbon;


"T.O.X.": the level of totally organically bound halogen, expressed in chlorine;



"N/A": not applicable;


"n.v.o.": not visually observable;


"v.g.t.g.": permitted level to be established in the licence in cases where no sectoral discharging conditions have been imposed for the parameter concerned.


The names in the first column are no longer used and have been replaced by the corresponding names in the second column:

Old terminology

New terminology

active chlorine

free chlorine

active chlorine and bromine

free chlorine

ammoniacal nitrogen




CCl4 extractable substances

perchloroethylene extractable apolar substances


chlorinated aromatic amines

chlorine oxidisable cyanides

free cyanide




total cyanide


sum of p,p’ -DDT, o,p’ -DDT, p,p’ -DDE and p,p’ -DDD


sum of anionic, non-ionogenic and cationic surfactants


sum of aldrin, dieldrin, endrin and isodrin

faecal colibacteria

E. coli

faecal streptococci



total inorganically bound fluoride

phosphates or total phosphates

total phosphorus

chlorinated hydrocarbons or halogenated hydrocarbons or organohalogens or organic halogen compounds

sum of volatile organic halogen compounds, partly volatile organic halogen compounds, PCBs and organochlorine pesticides


electrical conductivity

easily dissolvable cyanide

free cyanide

easily dissolvable cyanide (Bucksteeg)

free cyanide

hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH)

sum of α, β, γ and δ-HCH





dissolvable cyanide (Bucksteeg)

free cyanide


sum of anionic, non-ionogenic and cationic surfactants

organic chlorine


organic phosphorus pesticides

organophosphorous pesticides


sum of organochlorine pesticides, organophosphorous pesticides, nitrogen pesticides, acid herbicides and phenols




sum of dissolved and acidic environment soluble sulphide



total fluorine

total inorganically bound fluoride

trichlorobenzene (TCB)

sum of 1,3,5-, 1,2,4- and 1,2,3-trichlorobenzene