Evaluation of a biotest battery for the ecotoxicological characterisation of waste: ring test with 60 laboratories from 15 countries

The ecotoxicological characterization of waste is part of its assessment as hazardous or non-hazardous according to the European List of Wastes (LoW, 2000/532/EC) and its more recent amendments (Directive 2008/98/EG and Regulation 2017/997). For this assessment, 15 hazard properties are evaluated. So far, there is no harmonised guidance for evaluation of the hazard property ‘ecotoxic’ (HP 14) using ecotoxicity tests.

Based on the recommendations of CEN 14735 (2005), an international ring test was initiated in 2005 by the German Environment Agency (UBA) in order to identify suitable test methods for the biological assessment of waste and waste eluates. The German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM) prepared, characterized and distributed the waste samples. ECT was responsible for the scientific project co-ordination, including the preparation of standard operation procedures and the training workshop. The statistical evaluation was performed by the University of Applied Science Giessen-Friedberg (Germany). A total of 60 laboratories (16 universities, 16 public research institutions and 28 contract laboratories) from 15 countries (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, UK and the USA) participated in the ring test. A test battery, consisting of three aquatic and three terrestrial ecotoxicity tests, was used by all participants. Additional ecotoxicity tests (five aquatic assays, including a genotoxicity test, and five terrestrial assays) were performed by some of the laboratories. The tests were performed with three representative waste types: an ash from an incineration plant, a soil containing high concentrations of organic contaminants (PAHs) and a preserved wood waste. The results of the ring test demonstrate that a combination of a battery of ecotoxicity tests and chemical analysis of the waste constituents is needed for an ecotoxicological characterization of wastes. With small modifications the used test battery is considered to be well suited for the hazard and risk assessment of wastes and waste eluates.

Based on the project results, recommendations for the ecotoxicological characterisation of wastes were drafted in 2008 (for the revised recommendations, see here).

The final report of the project (in German) is available here.


Last update: January 2022