Exploration of sources, behaviour and risk of new substances

At present, the count for substances with a CAS number stands at over 194 million. New substances are being registered, produced and applied at a rapid pace. The substances can enter the environment during production, use and the waste phase, and they constitute a threat to drinking water sources. In addition, technical developments and changes in application may lead to substances constituting a new, or higher, risk for drinking water supplies. With sound locality management, targeted monitoring and an understanding of the hydrological system, efforts are being made to manage the threats. Monitoring here is dependent on the selection of instruments and substances. If we fail to detect certain substances or substance groups that may enter drinking water sources, we cannot monitor them effectively.

This study describes the socio-cultural, economic, demographic, climatic/hydrological, technological, land planning and political developments that could affect the range of chemicals in sources of drinking water in the near future. Those sources include both groundwater and surface water. This proactive approach allows for the timely identification of risks, their quantification as far as is possible, the guidance of follow-up research, and possible timely response measures. This approach, in combination with traditional water quality monitoring, new monitoring methods and source protection, is being used to safeguard drinking water quality. Findings from this study can also be used in decisions about local areas and coordination with other stakeholders in the water chain.