Environmental Quality Benchmarks for Protecting Aquatic Ecosystems

Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 51-60

First online:

Revisions to the derivation of the Australian and New Zealand guidelines for toxicants in fresh and marine waters

  • M. St. J. WarneAffiliated withWater Quality and Investigations, Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Science, Science Delivery, Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts Email author 
  • , G. E. BatleyAffiliated withCentre for Environmental Contaminants Research, CSIRO Land and Water
  • , O. BragaAffiliated withDepartment of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
  • , J. C. ChapmanAffiliated withOffice of Environment & Heritage
  • , D. R. FoxAffiliated withEnvironmetrics
  • , C. W. HickeyAffiliated withNational Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA)
  • , J. L. StauberAffiliated withCentre for Environmental Contaminants Research, CSIRO Land and Water
  • , R. Van DamAffiliated withEnvironmental Research Institute of the Supervising Scientist

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The Australian and New Zealand Guidelines for Fresh and Marine Water Quality are a key document in the Australian National Water Quality Management Strategy. These guidelines released in 2000 are currently being reviewed and updated. The revision is being co-ordinated by the Australian Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, while technical matters are dealt with by a series of Working Groups. The revision will be evolutionary in nature reflecting the latest scientific developments and a range of stakeholder desires. Key changes will be: increasing the types and sources of data that can be used; working collaboratively with industry to permit the use of commercial-in-confidence data; increasing the minimum data requirements; including a measure of the uncertainty of the trigger value; improving the software used to calculate trigger values; increasing the rigour of site-specific trigger values; improving the method for assessing the reliability of the trigger values; and providing guidance of measures of toxicity and toxicological endpoints that may, in the near future, be appropriate for trigger value derivation. These changes will markedly improve the number and quality of the trigger values that can be derived and will increase end-users’ ability to understand and implement the guidelines in a scientifically rigorous manner.


Environmental quality standards Toxicity Species sensitivity distribution Australia New Zealand