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Environmental analysis – compilation of monitoring data (MonitoringBase)


Within the project, the most relevant industry- and third-party environmental monitoring studies and meta-data on anionic, non-ionic, cationic and amphoteric surfactants in the European environment (water, sediment, agricultural soil, waste water and sludge) for the period 1970 – 2005 were collected and evaluated for the quality of the concentration data and the analytical methods used. Selected data were entered into a “MonitoringBase”.

An evaluation and scoring approach was developed based on six key features to judge the quality of the monitoring data. This approach is widely applicable and can easily be applied to other environmental contaminants.

The broad picture that emerges of surfactant removal in wastewater treatment plants [WWTPs] and the resulting concentrations in different matrices such as water and sediments, is in line with the current understanding of their environmental fate, and the values used in eco-toxicological risk assessment models.


Over the last 20-30 years, a considerable amount of resources has been spent by the detergent industries (AISE/CESIO) as well as by governments and other parties on the monitoring of surfactant concentrations in various environmental matrices. This ERASM research project adapted CEFIC’s “MonitoringBase” for creating an inventory of monitored environmental surfactant concentrations in Europe.


A database has been developed in MS AccessTM for the storage and retrieval of environmental data of surfactants in Europe, as well as general information on major surfactant environmental monitoring programs. The database contains measured concentrations (about 2100 data points) for 8 surfactant groups collected from scientific literature and unpublished reports.

The quality of the data was evaluated and scored using an approach similar to the Klimisch method for judging eco-toxicology and toxicology data. The assignments involve four ‘Klimisch’-like categories (reliable without restriction, reliable with restriction, not reliable, not assignable), and are based on six key features of an environmental monitoring study, of which three features were found the most important. The proposed evaluation and scoring approach is widely applicable and can easily be applied for other environmental contaminants.

The database was released in 2012 and contains data points collected until 2005. No update has been made so far.