ECN Statement and Comments on ‘Risk Assessment Study on Compost and Digestate’

End of 2017 the Directorate generale for Environment (DG ENV, B2 Unit Sustainable Chemicals) has contracted Wood (Wood Environment & Infrastructure Solutions UK Limited) for a risk assessment study on digestate and compost as fertilisers. The objective of this study was to figure out further contaminants of potential risks in compost and digestate from different input materials and based on different risk assessment options further possible regulatory actions, like additional restrictions under REACH.

ECN was very critical against this study from the beginning as it puts in question somehow the outcome of the EoW JRC report 2014 and the settings of end of waste critieria for compost and digestate in the new EU Fertilising Product Regulation. We delivered only data on bio-waste management, but we didn't submit new analytical data, as these were all included in the EoW JRC report 2014 and in the FATE COMES study of JRC 2013.

In 2019, the final report of Wood was published including new proposed 'safe limits' which are completely not in line with our limit in ECN-QAS, nor with the proposed EoW criteria for compost and digestate of the JRC report, nor with the defined criteria in the new EU Fertilisng Product Regulation. So far, the Commission has not taken any opinion on this report and has not planned any regulatory actions. The study will be used as background study for a new study in the context of the revision on the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive.

End of 2019, ECN submitted a statement to the Commission to recall the study and provided specific comments on the study. Please find the ECN statement on the risk assessment study on compost and digestate here.