Person: De Stefano, Lucia
Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Faculty / Institute
Geodinámica, Estratigrafía y Paleontología
Now showing 1 - 4 of 4
PublicationA comparative analysis of the application of water quality exemptions in the European Union: The case of nitrogen(Elsevier, 2020-10-15) Bolinches Quero, Antonio; Paredes-Arquiola, Javier; Garrido, Alberto; De Stefano, LuciaFreshwater ecosystems and water uses may be jeopardized by the degradation of water quality. The Water Framework Directive of the European Union (EU) sets environmental objectives for water bodies but foresees the establishment of exemptions under some circumstances. The criteria used to justify these exemptions, however, are not fully developed, leaving their application open to some arbitrariness. Our study explores the relations between the magnitude of pressures affecting continental surface water bodies and the declared exemptions on the permitted concentration of nitrogen. It identifies different approaches to declare exemptions to nitrogen environmental objectives across six EU Member States and discusses the underlying criteria. A better understanding of the pressures-impact-measures/exemptions relation helps compare water policy decisions across different regions subject to the same legal obligations and set priorities for mitigation measures. PublicationToo expensive to be worth it? A methodology to identify disproportionate costs of environmental measures as applied to the Middle Tagus River, Spain(Taylor & Francis, 2020-02-27) Bolinches Quero, Antonio; De Stefano, Lucia; Paredes-Arquiola, JavierThe European Union (EU) Water Framework Directive (WFD) established in 2000 that EU Member States should achieve good status for all their water bodies by 2027 at the latest. The competent authorities are obliged to commit the necessary resources to achieve this goal. In water bodies where the costs are deemed disproportionate, the Directive foresees the definition of exemptions. Two decades after approval of the WFD, however, there is no common method across the EU to evaluate the disproportionality of costs and define the associated exemptions. We propose a methodology based on WFD indicators of water body status and economic variables that are common to all the EU countries. The method uses data that is already available in Eurostat and European Environment Agency databases, thus minimizing data collection costs. The method is applied to the Middle Tagus (Spain), where currently there are several water bodies with declared exemptions for disproportionate costs. PublicationDesigning river water quality policy interventions with scarce data: the case of the Middle Tagus Basin, Spain(Taylor & Francis, 2020) Bolinches Quero, Antonio; De Stefano, Lucia; Paredes-Arquiola, JavierAnthropic pressures deteriorate river water quality, so authorities need to identify their causes and define corrective actions. Physically based water quality models are a useful tool for addressing physicochemical pollutants, but they must be calibrated with an amount of data that is often unavailable. In this study, we explore the characterization of a model to design corrective interventions in a context of sparse data. A calibration indicator that is both simple and flexible is proposed. This approach is applied to the Middle Tagus Basin in central Spain, where the physicochemical concentration of pollutants is above legal standards. We quantify the effects of the main existing pressures (discharge from wastewater treatment plants, agricultural diffuse pollution and a major inter-basin water transfer) on the receiving waters. In particular, the study finds that wastewater treatment plant effluent concentrations should be reduced to up to 0.65 mg/L of ammonium and 0.55 mg/L of phosphate to achieve the environmental goals. We propose and prioritize a set of policy actions that would contribute to the good status of surface water bodies in the region. PublicationAdjusting wastewater treatment effluent standards to protect the receiving waters: the case of low-flow rivers in central Spain(Springer, 2020) Bolinches Quero, Antonio; De Stefano, Lucia; Paredes-Arquiola, JavierFreshwater quality is deteriorating worldwide. In populated areas, urban pollution is the main pressure on surface continental waters, but intensive wastewater treatment is costly. Setting standards for treatment of wastewater before discharge is a major policy instrument for water authorities, balancing environmental gains and operational costs. Discharge permits usually define concentration limits at the discharge point of the plant effluent. This approach, however, may not guarantee the good status of the receiving waters. Discharge permits should be directly linked to pollutant concentration in the river. Our paper develops an approach to adaptively adjust discharge permits and applies it to Madrid and the Manzanares river, a city of more than 3 million inhabitants discharging its treated wastewater to a stream having less than 2 m3 s−1 average flow. Stricter limits to 5-day biological oxygen demand (11 mg O2 L−1), ammonium (0.5 mg N-NH4 L−1), nitrate (5.9 mg N-NO3 L−1), and phosphate (0.17 mg P-PO4 L−1) at plant effluent are required to meet the river environmental objectives. The results can be generalized to assess wastewater management decisions in other geographical areas.