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ZeroPM: Zero Pollution from Persistent, Mobile Substances

Persistent, mobile (PM) substances are being recognized as serious threats to the safety of water resources. In many cases, drinking water supplies have to be purified using expensive technologies because of contamination by PM substances. As part of this effort, a new, wide-reaching European Research project with NIVA as one of the partners, Zero Pollution of Persistent, Mobile substances, (ZeroPM) will start in autumn 2021.

The most famous example of PM substances are per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), but there are numerous others. This worldwide problem has triggered new policy and monitoring actions and the European Green Deal contains a broad initiative for chemical and water regulations for PM substances.

Funded under the H2020 call "Building a low-carbon, climate resilient future: Research and innovation in support of the European Green Deal: Innovative, systemic zero-pollution solutions to protect health, environment and natural resources from persistent and mobile chemicals", ZeroPM includes 15 partners and will run for 5 years. The project is led by the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute with Dr Sarah Hale as the Project Coordinator and Prof. Hans Peter Arp as co-coordinator.

The Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA) is a partner in the project.

- In NIVA, we have long and vast experience and a wide-ranging research environment with the ability to understand all aspects of pollution especially water-soluble pollutants like organic fluor compounds, Bert van Bavel, Chief Scientist at NIVA, says.

- Novel and practical research to minimize the effects of chemicals on the environment is in the core of our work. This involves studying and modeling the effect of contaminants and designing better technologies for removing pollution in process streams to minimize environmental discharges – expertise that will play a central role in ZeroPM.

- NIVAs leading chemical analytical laboratory will monitor the development of the removal technologies for PFAS and other PM compounds. Accurate, robust and reliable chemical analysis and sampling technologies are crucial for the success of ZeroPM, says Ian Allan, Senior Research Scientist at NIVA. 

ZeroPM will interlink and synergize prevention, prioritization and removal strategies to protect the environment and human health from PM substances. To do this, ZeroPM will establish an evidence-based multilevel framework to guide policy, technological and market incentives to minimize use, emissions and pollution of entire groups of PM substances.

ZeroPM will deliver policy improvements, an increase in business opportunities and competitiveness, an improved livelihood for EU citizens and beyond state of the art methods, to prevent regrettable substitution and regrettable remediation of PM substance groups. ZeroPM will be the pathfinding project enabling the ambitions of the Chemical Strategy to become an on-the-ground reality, supporting the movement towards a zero pollution, toxic-free environment.

Besides NIVA and NGI, the ZeroPM partners are: Stockholm University: Sweden, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam: The Netherlands, DVGW-Technologiezentrum Wasser (German Water Centre): Germany, Milieu Law and Policy Consulting: Belgium, ChemSec: Sweden, German Environment Agency: Germany, ETH Zurich: Switzerland, University of Luxembourg: Luxembourg, University of the Aegean: Greece, TG Environmental Research: UK, Chalmers: Sweden, University of Vienna: Austria and Fraunhofer Institute for Toxicology and Experimental Medicine: Germany.

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