Other substances: protection of groundwater

This Directive prohibits or limits the discharge of certain dangerous substances into groundwater and establishes systematic monitoring of the quality of such water. It will be repealed by the Water Framework Directive as of 21 December 2013.


Council Directive 80/68/EEC of 17 December 1979 on the protection of groundwater against pollution caused by certain dangerous substances [See amending acts].


The purpose of this Directive is to prevent the discharge of certain toxic, persistent and bioaccumulable substances into groundwater.

The following are not covered:

There are two lists of dangerous substances drawn up for the protection of groundwater:

All indirect discharges of substances in List I and all direct or indirect discharges of substances in List II are subject to prior authorisation. Such authorisation:

Monitoring of compliance with these conditions and of the effects of discharges on groundwater is the responsibility of the competent authorities of the Member States.

The Directive provides for exceptions, under certain conditions, to the ban on discharges of substances in List I.

It also lays down special rules for artificial recharges of groundwater intended for public water supplies.

The competent authorities of the Member States must keep an inventory of authorisations:

The Member States concerned must inform one another in the event of discharges into transboundary groundwater.

Member States may introduce more stringent measures than those laid down in this Directive.

Every three years, reports by the Member States on the implementation of Directive 80/68/EEC and other relevant Directives, drawn up on the basis of a questionnaire or outline drafted by the Commission in accordance with the procedure laid down in Directive 91/692/EEC. The Commission is responsible for publishing a report on the basis of this information.



Entry into force - Date of expiry

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 80/68/EEC



OJ L 20 of 26.01.1980

Amending act(s)

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 91/692/EEC



OJ L 377 of 31.12.1991


Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy [Official Journal L 327 of 22.12.2000]. This Directive repeals Directive 80/68/EC as of 21 December 2013.

Commission Decision 92/446/EEC of 27 July 1992 concerning questionnaires relating to Directives in the water sector [Official Journal L 247 of 27.08.1992].

This Decision draws up the outlines of questionnaires needed to monitor the implementation of and compliance with the provisions of all Directives in the water sector, including Directive 80/68/EEC.

Last updated: 31.08.2006