Environment, Health and Safety Group Newsletter

26 April 2017

24 Apr 2017

As Chair of the EHS Group I would like to commend to you this the first edition of our occasional newsletter.  It is designed to inform recipients about the activities carried out by your fellow active members.  The purpose of this newsletter is to brief readers about the ongoing issues with which the Group is involved and to provide a catalyst for feedback and stimulus to encourage wider involvement by members.

As you will see this concentrates on Group activities in connection with British, European and International standards. Such activities have been an important aspect of the Group since the foundation of an environment group several decades ago.

If you feel that you want to expand your own involvement in these areas or have information about topics that could widen the Group’s activity, then please contact the Secretary through the published SCI channels.

Tim White
Group Chair


SCI and Environmental Standards
ISO TC190 –Soil quality Meeting, Berlin 1st February, 2017
ISO TC147 –Water quality Meeting, Edinburgh, 2018
ISO 18400 Soil quality standards published
Standards under development
Forthcoming events
EHSG Contact Links

SCI and Environmental Standards

An important Group activity has always been participation in the development of British, European and International standards. Members of the Group represent SCI on a number of BSI committees and also represent the UK on many CEN (European Committee for Standardisation) and ISO (International Organization for Standardisation) Technical Committees and the associated Working and Task Groups. Often, it is only the financial support given by SCI towards travel costs etc. to supplement the limited contribution made by BSI that ensures that the UK is represented at many of these key meetings.

Currently the Group represents SCI on the following BSI committees:

  • BSI EH4 Soil Quality - Mike Smith, K. Clive Thompson & Tim White
  • BSI EH3 and its sub-committees - Water Quality - Tim White & K. Clive Thompson
  • BSI EH5 Sludge Quality – K. Clive Thompson
  • BSI AW/020 AW/020 “Topsoil, other growing media and turf " - K. Clive Thompson
  • Through BSI EH4, Mike Smith and K. Clive Thompson represent the UK on ISO TC190 (Soil quality),
    CEN TC345 (Soil quality) and CEN TC444 (Environmental standards, e.g. for soils and wastes); and various of their Working and Task Groups.
  • Through BSI EH3 and its Sub-committees, K. Clive Thompson and Tim White represent the UK on ISO TC147 (Water quality), CEN/TC 230 Water Quality and various of their Working Groups.
  • Through BSI EH5, K. Clive Thompson represents the UK on ISO TC275 Sludge quality
  • Through  BSI AW/020 AW/020, K. Clive Thompson represents the UK on CEN/TC 223 "Soil improvers and growing media"

In the past SCI representatives have made a very significant contribution on behalf of the UK to the development ISO 14000 series of standards and also a wide range of other standards such as COD, cyanide speciation analysis, arsenic speciation analysis and a number of on-site soil screening methods.


ISO TC190 –Soil quality Meeting, Berlin 2 February

Mike Smith and K. Clive Thompson together with Prof Stephen Nortcliff attended a special meeting of ISO TC190 Soil quality to discuss the future of the TC.

ISO Technical Committee 190 (TC190) Soil quality was formed about 30 years ago. It produces standards relating to terminology, sampling, chemical analysis, biological testing, physical testing and soil and site assessment.

Since its formation about thirty years ago the Secretariat and Chair of TC190 have been provided by the Dutch standards organisation (NEN) with financial support from the Dutch government. Doubts about the continuation of this support were raised by NEN towards the end of 2016, hence the need to consider how the work of TC190 can be maintained should NEN be no longer able to supply the Secretariat etc.  The various sub-committees (SCs) are currently led by France (AFNOR) and Germany (DIN) which also provide the Secretariats for most of the numerous Working Groups (WGs). Since TC190 was founded, the UK has endeavoured to contribute as much as it can through active participation in the work of the SCs and individual Working Groups and by providing Project Leaders for a variety of work items. Unfortunately, the UK was only able to lead a sub-committee (SC4 – biological test methods) for a short period of time and Convenors from the UK have of late been provided with secretarial support by other member bodies. Although the UK holds no Secretariats at any level, the UK has made a major contribution to development of numerous standards particularly in respect of chemical analytical methods, sampling, soil and site assessment and sustainable remediation of contaminated sites.

This crisis regarding the future of TC190 has arisen at a time when there is increasing recognition of the importance of soil to the future of the Earth with a number of global initiatives having recently been triggered (see for example Dirt Poor, Chemistry & Industry, 2016 (October) 26-29 and Soils -  The International context[LINK]).

The future funding of the TC190 Secretariat was not resolved at the meeting. However, if the Netherlands is unable to continue funding it is likely that France, and possibly Germany, would be willing to take on the Secretariat. France has lately made protection and sustainable use of soil priority issues for global action. It was decided to recommend simplification of the TC190 structure by reducing the number of Sub-committees from four to two.

ISO TC147 –Water quality Meeting, Edinburgh, 2018

In 2018 the next plenary meeting of ISO TC 147 Water Quality will be held in Edinburgh.  It is anticipated that there will be significant support from the Scottish Government in providing facilities for the meeting.  SCI members will take an active role in organising the meeting ensuring that the UK delegation are fully briefed on emerging technical issues surrounding the development and maintenance of the 300 standards under the management of the committee.   It is expected that there will be approximately 150 delegates attending from the 43 participating and 47 observer nations.  EHSG members will take every opportunity promote the aims and values of SCI at this and all other standards events.

ISO 18400 Soil sampling standards published

The first seven members of the BS ISO 18400 Soil quality - Sampling series are expected to be published in April 2017. They will complement the guidance in BS10175 on the investigation of potentially contaminated sites but also cover other sites where soil sampling might be required including natural, near-natural and agricultural sites. BS ISO 18400-102 (Selection and application of sampling techniques) and BS ISO 18400-103 (Safety) will replace respectively BS ISO 10381-2 and BS ISO 10381-3 which will be withdrawn. Both standards will be “normative” in BS 10175, i.e. some or all of the provisions in them are essential to the proper application of BS 10175. Other topics covered by the new standards are: the preparation of a sampling plan (-101), QA/QC (-106), sample handling (-105), preparation of sampling reports (-107) and pretreatment of samples on site (-201).

There are a further six standards in preparation including on sampling strategies (-104); preliminary investigations (-202); sampling of natural, near-natural and agricultural sites (-205), and sampling for biological testing (-206). ISO 18400-204 (Soil gas) and ISO 18400-203 (Potentially contaminated sites) will not be adopted as British Standards because they overlap with BS 8576 (investigations for ground gas) and BS 10175 respectively. 

Mike Smith is the ISO Project Leader for a number of the BS ISO 18400 series of standards: -102, -103, -104, -105, -201, -202, -203 and -205.

BS 10175 will be amended to take account of the publication of the new standards. This work is being led by Mike Smith.


Standards under development

Standards relating to soil and site assessment under development in ISO TC190 include:

(BS) (EN) ISO DIS 11504

Impact of soil contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons


Soil & groundwater protection


Re-use of excavated soil and soil materials


Ecotoxicological characterization of soil & soil materials


Human exposure

ISO DIS 17924

Bioavailability of metals in soil to humans

(BS) ISO 18504

Sustainable remediation

BS ISO 18512:2007

Guidance on long & short term storage of samples


Determination of background values

NWIP 21365

Conceptual site models for potentially contaminated sites

PD ISO/TR 19588

Background information and guidance on environmental cyanide analysis (about to be published)

CD = Committee Draft, DIS = Draft International Standard, FDIS = Final Draft International Standard,
NWIP = New Work Item Proposal, WD = Working Draft, EN = European Standard

Future EHSG events

The 56th Annual General Meeting of the Environment Health & Safety Group will be held at SCI, Belgrave Square, at 1:30pm on Monday, 5 June 2017.  An agenda, annual report and nomination papers will be circulated at the end of April.

EHSG Contact Links

  • Chair – Tim White
  • Secretary – Alan Maries
  • Newsletter Coordinator – Mike Smith
  • Group Contact –  Emma Thomas emma.thomas@soci.org T: +44(0)20 7598 1594

BSI Representatives:


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