Flemish Environment Minister Zuhal Demir (N-VA) has rejected 3M’s appeal against tightening the company’s offloading standards in Zwijndrecht. This was a measure of the Antwerp delegation. In addition, the Minister will immediately impose stricter standards on the PFAS.
In October last year, the delegation imposed stricter discharge standards for 9 PFAS – a collective name for some synthetic materials that are nearly impossible to break down. The standards will take effect immediately and will be between 1 and 20 micrograms per liter. For PFOS, for example, the standard was tightened to 0.1 µg per liter.
However, 3M appealed the dispatch decision, which means that the file is over to Demir’s board of directors. On the advice of the Regional Environmental Permit Committee, it has decided to tighten the relevant discharge standards for all mentioned substances to a maximum of 0.1 micrograms per liter with immediate effect, the minister said on Monday.
Therefore the standard already provided for PFOS also applies to 8 other substances. Special conditions are imposed for other materials not mentioned in the permit, for which a separate discharge standard must be requested.
I expect companies like 3M to fully invest in keeping concentrations of hazardous substances to a strict minimum. Demir stresses that there will be close monitoring to ensure that these layoff standards are respected, and if violations are detected, actions will be taken, as has already been done through safety and administrative measures against multinational companies.