Training Courses organised by the Department of Chemistry

The first "Training courses on Analytical Quality Control and method validation in support to the Water Framework Directive - TAQC-WFD" shall be taking place at the Chemistry Department, University, Msida on the 28-30 September 2006

1stTAQC-WFD event - Msida (MT), 28-30 September 2006. Invited trainees from Algeria, France, Greece, Malta, Portugal, Spain and Tunisia. The website of the event at http://www.aqc.it/taqc_wfd/events/event1/event1.html provides details of the Scientific Programme and the list of the invited lecturers. The Malta event has been organised by Dr. George Peplow of the Chemistry Department, University of Malta, and the project coordinator Dr. Ildi Ipolyi of QualityConsult, Rome. The whole TAQC-WED project comprises 5 training events of a similar format at 5 different locations of Europe, namely Rome, Budapest, Warsaw, Bergen as well as Malta.

The TAQC-WFD project has been financed by the European Community under the Marie Curie Actions - Human Resources and Mobility Programme. The project aims at the development of a 'correct culture' of analytical quality in the young generation of professionals. It addresses the training of 'Early Stage Researchers' from 42 countries of Europe and the non-European Mediterranean region. The training supports the successful implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) and the global EU Water Initiative that have a strategic importance with regard to sustainable development. Moreover, it contributes to the improvement of measurement quality and the enhancement of measurement capabilities.

The European Commission presented a Proposal for a Water Framework Directive with the key aims to expand the scope of water protection to all waters, surface waters and groundwater in order to achieve "good status" for all waters by a set deadline.

Good chemical status is defined in terms of compliance with all the quality standards established for chemical substances at European level. The Directive also provides a mechanism for renewing these standards and establishing new ones by means of a prioritisation mechanism for hazardous chemicals. This will ensure at least a minimum chemical quality, particularly in relation to very toxic substances, everywhere in the Community.  

The case of groundwater is somewhat different. The presumption in relation to groundwater should broadly be that it should not be polluted at all. For this reason, setting chemical quality standards may not be the best approach, as it gives the impression of an allowed level of pollution to which Member States can fill up. A very few such standards have been established at European level for particular issues (nitrates, pesticides and biocides), and these must always be adhered to. But for general protection, we have taken another approach. It is essentially a precautionary one. It comprises a prohibition on direct discharges to groundwater, and (to cover indirect discharges) a requirement to monitor groundwater bodies so as to detect changes in chemical composition, and to reverse any antropogenically induced upward pollution trend. Taken together, these should ensure the protection of groundwater from all contamination, according to the principle of minimum anthropogenic impact.  

The training course aims at setting the correct procedures that must be adopted in Europe and the Mediterranean concerning the correct analytical measurements that must be implemented in analytical laboratories, such as the laboratory quality assurance indicated in ISO/CEN 17025.