Purpose: Implementation of current European environmental legislation such as the Water Framework Directive requires access to comprehensive, well-structured pollutant source and release inventories. The aim of this work was to develop a Source Classification Framework (SCF) ideally suited for this purpose.
Methods: Existing source classification systems were examined by a multidisciplinary research team, and an optimised SCF was developed. The performance and usability of the SCF were tested using a selection of 25 chemicals listed as priority pollutants in Europe.
Results: The SCF is structured in the form of a relational database and incorporates both qualitative and quantitative source classification and release data. The system supports a wide range of pollution monitoring and management applications. The SCF functioned well in the performance test, which also revealed important gaps in priority pollutant release data.
Conclusions: The SCF provides a well-structured approach for European pollutant source and release classification and management. With further optimisation and demonstration testing, the SCF has the potential to be fully implemented throughout Europe.