Environmental Quality Standards

Environmental Quality Standards

An Environmental Quality Standard is a value, generally defined by regulation, which specifies the maximum permissible concentration of a potentially hazardous chemical in an environmental sample, generally of air or water. (Sometimes also known as an ambient standard.)

Environmental Quality Standards (EQSs) for marine, freshwaters and sediments have been developed and although there are no global values many countries have their own standards which are used to assess pollution levels in the aquatic environment. EQS values vary from country to country and are often incomplete. Metal speciation directly impacts on toxicity but this is often ignored. Despite these omissions they are nevertheless invaluable in the interpretation of monitoring data. EQS are not available for many parts of the world. In the absence of regional standards it is still preferable to compare values obtained against an EQS to assess the extent of pollution and potential for ecological damage.

This page provides a compilation of available EQS information for mercury and associated compounds, however the links provided are to the most widely used and extensive lists in terms of toxic pollutants.

EQS values links

EC: Environmental Canada

EA: Environmental Agency

VROM: Minister Cramer of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment

SEPA: Scottish Environment Protection Agency

USEPA: United States Environmental Protection Agency

WHO: World Health Organization

CCME: Canadian Council of Minister of the Environment

MOE: Ministry of the Environment (Government of Japan)

PIMC-NRMMC: Australia/New Zealand water quality guidelines

DEWHA: Australian sediment quality guidelines (National Assessment Guidelines for Dredging)

IFC: International Finance Corporation environmental guidelines (general and sector specific)

The World Bank: World Bank Guidelines

EQS values pdf-files

Guidance on Assessment of Sediments

Screening Quick Reference Tables (SQUIRTS)

Literature review of Water Quality Parameters and Assessments

Compiled EQS for Mercury

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