Statutory Rules of Northern Ireland
4th July 2014
Coming into operation
31st July 2014
1. These Regulations may be cited as the Groundwater (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2014 and shall come into operation on 31st July 2014.
2. The Interpretation Act (Northern Ireland) 1954(3) applies to these Regulations as it applies to an Act of the Assembly.
3. The Groundwater Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2009(4) are amended in accordance with regulations 4 to 12.
4. In regulation 2 (interpretation)-
(a)in paragraph (1)-
(i)after the definition of "authorisation" insert-
""background level" means 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;
"baseline level" means the average value measured at least during the reference years 2007 and 2008 on the basis of monitoring in accordance with a programme prepared under regulation 9 of The Water Environment (Water Framework Directive) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2003;";
(ii)after the definition of "groundwater" insert-
""groundwater quality standard" means 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;";
(iii)after the definition of "river basin district and international river basin districts" insert-
""significant and sustained upward trend" means any statistically and environmentally significant increase of concentration of a pollutant, group of pollutants, or indicator of pollution in groundwater for which trend reversal is identified as being necessary in accordance with regulation 10;";
(iv)after the definition of "starting point" insert-
""threshold value" means a groundwater quality standard established under regulation 8;".
(b)delete paragraph 3.
5. For regulation 7 (general duty in the Neagh Bann, North Western and Shannon International River Basin Districts) substitute-
7. In discharging its functions in compliance with these Regulations the Department shall cooperate, in accordance with Article 3(4) of the Water Framework Directive, with the Government Department in Ireland having responsibility for corresponding functions, so as to secure that the assessment of groundwater chemical status, the establishment of threshold values, identification of significant and sustained upward trends and determination of the starting point for trend reversal is co-ordinated for the whole of the international river basin districts."
6. (1) In paragraph 1 of regulation 8(threshold values) after the word "Department." insert the words "The Department may derive threshold values at the national level, level of the river basin district or at the level of a body or a group of bodies of groundwater"
(2) In regulation 8(5) after the word "values" insert the words "listed in Schedule".
(3) After regulation 8(5) insert-
"(6) Where any threshold value is breached and subsequent monitoring is performed–
(a)the body of groundwater should not be classed as good chemical status if both (a) the average of all the monitoring results from all the monitoring points representative of the risk to the quality of the groundwater exceeds the threshold value; and (b), additionally, the concentration of the pollutant to which the threshold value applies exceeds the maximum concentration allowed for it in drinking water in at least one sample from an appropriately representative monitoring point;
(b)the body of groundwater should not be classed as good chemical status if (i) the threshold values is exceeded across any plume of pollutants extending for over 2 square kilometres or more; and (ii) the maximum concentration allowed in drinking water for any of the pollutants in the plume is exceeded in at least part of the plume.
(7) The Schedule has effect.".
7. For regulation 9 (criteria for assessing groundwater chemical status) substitute-
9. (1) The Department shall apply the approach in the relevant provisions of the Directive and the Water Framework Directive when assessing groundwater chemical status.
(2) The relevant provisions of the Directive for the purposes of subparagraph (1) are-
(a)Article 3(1)(a) and (b);
(c)Article 4(1), 4(2) and 4(3);
(e)Annex II; and
(f)paragraphs 1 to 4 of Annex III.
(3) The relevant provisions of the Water Framework Directive for the purposes of subparagraph (1) are in section 2.3 of Annex V.
(4) Diffuse sources of pollution having an impact on groundwater chemical status must be taken into account whenever technically possible."
8. (1) In paragraph (1) of regulation 10 (significant and sustained upward trends and the starting point for trend reversal) after the word "shall" insert ", in accordance with Annex IV to the Directive".
(2) In paragraph (6) remove "paragraph 1 of".
(3) After paragraph (6) insert-
"(6A) For the identification of significant and sustained upward trends in the concentration of substances which cover both naturally and as a result of human activities the Department must consider the baseline levels and, where such data is available, the data collected before the start of the monitoring programme in order to report on trend identification within the first river basin management plan referred to in Article 13 of the Water Framework Directive.".
9. For regulation 14 (preventing the input of hazardous substances into groundwater) substitute-
14. (1) The Department shall, in granting an authorisation, take all necessary measures to prevent the input of any hazardous substance into groundwater.
(2) Each programme of measures established under regulation 11 of The Water Environment (Water Framework Directive) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2003 must include measures to prevent the input of hazardous substances into groundwater.".
10. For regulation 15(limiting the input of non hazardous pollutants into groundwater) substitute-
15. (1) The Department shall, in granting an authorisation, take all necessary measures to limit the input of non-hazardous pollutants into groundwater so as to ensure that such inputs do not cause pollution in groundwater.
(2) Each programme of measures established under regulation 11 of The Water Environment (Water Framework Directive) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2003 must include measures to limit the input of non-hazardous pollutants into groundwater".
11. (1) In regulation 16(discharges that may be authorised) after the word "Directive" insert "and without prejudice to any more stringent requirement in EU legislation.".
12. A Schedule shall be inserted into the Groundwater Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2009 as follows:
|Parameter||Unit||To examine if groundwater abstraction is causing saline or other intrusions||To examine if groundwater is providing a significant contribution to the failure of the environmental objectives of associated surface water bodies||To examine if the quality of groundwater that is abstracted for potable use is deteriorating, possibly resulting in a need for increased purification||To examine the spatial extent of a groundwater body or group of bodies that are exceeding an EU Standard or threshold value|
The surface water environmental standards are set out in Schedule 1 to The Water Framework Directive (Priority Substances and Classification) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011(S.R. 2011 No. 10)
The "dilution factor" is taken to be the fraction of the average annual river flow derived from groundwater inflows. It can be estimated from established hydrological indices such as the baseflow index, or from the ratio of catchment groundwater recharge to effective precipitation.
|Nitrate (as NO3)|
|Any pollutant in relation to which a surface water environmental standard has been set(1)||0.5 x (surface water standard divided by dilution factor)(2)|
|Column header||Annual mean nitrate concentration (mg/l NO3)|
|Altitude Above Ordnance Datum|
|Wetland type||up to 175 metres||more than 175 metres||any|
|Fen (mesotrophic) and Fen Meadow||22||9|
|Fen (oligotrophic and wetlands at tufa forming springs)||20||4|
|Peatbog and woodland on peatbog||9|
|Wetland directly irrigated by spring or seepage||9|
|Swamp (mesotrophic) and reedbed||22|
Sealed with the Official Seal of the Department of the Environment on 4th July 2014
A senior officer of the Department of the Environment
(This note is not part of the Regulations)
These Regulations amend the Groundwater Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2009 in the following ways.
Regulation 2 is amended to include key definitions contained in the Groundwater Directive.
Regulation 7 is amended to clarify that the Department will cooperate with the relevant Government Department in Ireland in establishing threshold values for groundwater.
Regulation 8 is amended to clarify the levels at which threshold values may be established and the criteria for classifying a groundwater body as poor following a breach of a threshold value.
Regulation 9 is amended to set out the relevant provisions of the Groundwater and Water Framework Directives which are used for assessing groundwater chemical status.
Regulation 10 is amended so baseline levels and other requirements are considered when identifying significant and sustained upward trends.
Regulation 12 is added to insert a Schedule into the Regulations to set out the threshold values that will be used to assess groundwater chemical status.
Regulations 14 and 15 are amended to require the Department to include measures to prevent and limit the input of hazardous substances and non-hazardous pollutants into groundwater within the programme of measures included in the River Basin Management Plans established under the Water Framework Directive.
Regulation 16 is amended to prevent prejudice to any more stringent requirements in EU Legislation.