What is PNEC-pro?

PNEC-pro is a user-friendly, state-of-the-art tool for professionals dealing with the assessment of surface water quality. It calculates local, watertype-specific no-effect concentrations (PNEC) of copper, nickel, zinc, and lead based on Biotic Ligand Models (BLMs). Local PNECs are used for compliance checks in higher-tier risk assessments.

PNEC-pro uses routines that select functions with the highest reliability, based on the input parameters that are entered by the user. These transfer functions are tested against validated, full BLMs. They replace complicated BLM procedures and increase the applicability for “routine” water type-specific risk assessments.

PNEC-pro is endorsed by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment. PNEC-pro has been implemented in legal frameworks for EQS-compliance testing and WFD-reporting.

What is NEW in this version?

PNEC-pro V6 offers some new features and updated routines:
  • BLM routine for lead (Pb)

  • Being a WFD-priority substance, lead is added as a new substance to PNEC-pro. Bioavailability corrections are performed via recently developed BLMs.
  • Refined, up-to-date functions for nickel (Ni)

  • The refined nickel functions in PNEC-pro V6 represent the current scientific status of revised toxicity data and normalization procedures, necessary for reliable, higher-tiered compliance testing of water quality standards.
  • Export functions for graphs.

  • Statistical routines process input and output data, showing ranges and distributions, including statistical summaries. graphs can be saved as pictures in a format of your choice.

What are Biotic Ligand Models?

In contrast to generic environmental quality standards, BLMs incorporate chemical speciation in the assessment of ecotoxicological risks for aquatic species. BLMs are recognized as a second-tier assessment method to determine site-specific risks based on bioavailability of heavy metals.

Schematic Download
PNEC-pro version 6
Scientific background information

Deltares is a leading, independent, non-profit research institute and specialist consultancy for water, soil and the subsurface. We apply our expertise to develop delta areas, coastal zones and river basins.

We conduct advanced research and provide specialist advisory services for government authorities and the corporate sector in The Netherlands and globally.

The essence of our work is the development, application and sharing of knowledge by collaborating with universities and other scientific institutes. Deltares has over 800 employees and is based in Delft and Utrecht, The Netherlands.

When is water quality sufficient?

PNEC-pro V6 is a fast and user friendly tool that provides quick screening of monitoring data, based on local bioavailability rather than total concentrations of toxic metals.

For detailed analysis of the aquatic ecosystem, the "full" BLM-procedures should be used, including chemical speciation of metals at the site of interest based on water characteristics. This will provide the possibility to construct species sensitivity distributions (SSD; right figure) for a large range of aquatic species.

Detailed analysis of various water types, on a geographical and seasonal scale, has been carried out for a large number of water types in the Netherlands, covering the requirements of the Water Framework Directive (WFD).

Click here to download the analysis, or contact us for more information.


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