French Guideline Values

Note: The French approach to contaminated land management was amended in February 2007. Soil values (Fixed Impact Values (FIV) and Source/Soil Definition Values (SSDV)) are no longer used. This page is being retained for historical reference but up-to-date information is available at the French Portal for Contaminated Soil (in French) or on the EUGRIS Portal (French pages).

It is strongly recommended that you obtain a copy of the source, as it is a long and complex document. This is only a summary of Appendix 4 of the original report. References in the text are to the rest of the report. Figures in brackets are links to the notes which follow the table.

THE USE OF GUIDE VALUES FOR WATER AND SOIL POLLUTION

The values shown hereafter are the guide values adopted for the methodological guide “Simplified Risk Assessment and Classification of Sites”. They are thus only valid for Preliminary Site Investigation and Simplified Risk Assessment work, and specifically do not represent threshold values for remediation or depollution work.

The values are given for both soil and water, and for sensitive or non-sensitive land use.

It should be remembered that the guide values for both environments are only valid in the context of the above mentioned guide; this is true for the definition of soil as a pollution source and for noting the assessed impact in the correct box according to the notation principles defined for this grid. For details on the notation and use of these values, please see parts 3 and 5 of the guide.

These values can never be used for remediation objectives; for these, the values are defined through a Detailed Risk Assessment that, generally, is specific for each site and each case examined (Ministerial Circular of 10 December 1999).

CONDUCT IN CASE NO GUIDE VALUES ARE AVAILABLE

In case no guide values are available, the missing parameter must be specifically assessed, or, if this is impossible, a conservative approach must be adopted. The specific assessment should be communicated to the Ministry of the Environment -office in charge of soil pollution - to ensure it is taken into account when monitoring the application of the method and for later updates.

In case a substance is missing from the tables in this Appendix, Fixed Impact values (FIVs) could be proposed on the basis of existing values in other countries, or they could be established from toxicological data or by chemical analogy. The reference document for determination of the value and its field of application must be mentioned.

GUIDE VALUES FOR WATER

Fixed Impact values for the “Water” environment are applicable to both surface waters and groundwater.

Principle of establishing FIV sensitive use

Fixed Impact values (FIV sensitive use) for water are determined from Appendix 1.1 of the Decree of 3 January 1989, concerning water destined for human consumption with the exception of natural mineral waters. When no value is mentioned in this Appendix 1.1, Appendix 1.3 of the same document is used.

The guide values for substances not mentioned on these lists were found in Directive EC 98/83 (part B, Chemical Parameters), and in the World Health Organization monograph of 1994, updated 1998, “Quality Directives for Drinking Water” – Appendix 2.  All these values are shown in the tables of Chapter 6 hereafter. Generally, they are expressed in µg/l except in specific case where they are expressed in mg/l.

Finally, if necessary, the FIVs of any not mentioned substances can be established as indicated above in Chapter 2.

Principle of establishing FIV non-sensitive use

FIV non-sensitive use are derived from the above by multiplying by 2 for the major elements, or by 5 for trace elements. If the resulting values are less than the values in Appendix 3 of the Decree of 3 January 1989, modified (Quality limits for raw water used for the production of human drinking water), the values in Appendix 3 are chosen.

GUIDE VALUES FOR SOIL

Two types of value are used for the soil environment:

  1. Source/Soil Definition values (SSDV) help in defining the pollution source formed by a soil. Here, a value must be defined for each substance that defines the pollution source, regardless of the transfer and exposure environments adopted for the conceptual scheme of the studied site or pollution source.

  2. In case the soil is an exposure environment (see Part 3, § 9.3), the Fixed Impact values (FIV) helps in assessing the impact of the pollution on this same soil environment in terms of the sensitivity of its planned use.

The values shown in the tables of Chapter 6 are expressed in mg/kg of dry matter.

Fixed Impact values (FIV)

Where soil is the exposure environment, the FIV serve to assess the importance of the impact on the soil environment for a given land use (see Section 4 of Appendix 4 “Simplified Risk Assessment grids” of this report – Appendix 14 of the complete document).

For a given substance, the FIV sensitive use is determined as being equal to the maximum difference between the FIV sensitive use for soil and the quantification limit of the corresponding analytical method.

The FIV sensitive use is chosen, in order of decreasing priority, as one of the following values:

  • French criteria (where they exist),
  • German values for residential application,
  • Dutch intervention values of May 1994 or 1998.

The FIV non-sensitive use correspond to values:

  • Calculated from specific scenarios, like the French and German values;
  • Derived, by default, from the Dutch intervention values, multiplied by 2 for the major elements and by 5 for trace elements.

Calculation of the FIV non-sensitive use from specific scenarios as under 1 above can lead to unrealistic results, such as more than several per cent. In that case, the mention “nvl” (no value limit) is shown in the tables of Chapter 6.

For substances without FIVs, the steps in Chapter 2, above, must be taken. The choice of FIVs must be valid so as to retain those that correspond to a situation that is closest to that of the site being studied, especially its land use. If no FIVs are available, a conservative attitude must be adopted for the notation.

Establishing French FIVs

The French Fixed Impact values, developed by the “Public Health” working group as part of the national approach to the management and remediation of polluted sites and soils, are based on studies of the toxicity of substances to human health, and of the exposure of people to such substances as part of generic scenarios. These values consider the chronic risks to public health related to the actual use of the sites. They integrate three ways of exposing the population (ingestion of home-grown fruit and vegetables, ingestion of soil or dust, and skin absorption of soil or dust), selected by the “Simplified Risk Assessment” working group, and they are defined for two types of land use:

  • residential, with a vegetable garden (sensitive use),

  • industrial (or commercial), with open-air activities, such as construction work, for half of the exposure, and industrial with office activities for the other half of exposure time (non-sensitive use).

Use of soil FIVs

The (planned) land use of the site must be taken into account, in order to determine the most appropriate exposure scenario and, thus, the relevant FIV value to be used. Each value is associated to a specific type of use and to a specific location of the pollution in the soil, which are the parameters that condition the exposure modes and their importance.

In view of the method retained for establishing the French Fixed Impact Values, (see general document on calculating the values), the values adopted as FIV must be compared to the average concentrations of substances in the entire exposure zone, and not only to a spot concentration that may be of relatively restricted influence.

FIVs should thus be only compared to the average concentrations in the area with this land use, as the exposure risks are mainly related to this land use.

Source/Soil Definition Values (SSDV)

SSDVs help in defining if a soil is a a pollution source (see Part 3, 2.2.2a of the SRA grids).

For a given substance, the Source/soil Definition Value in the table of Chapter 6 is determined as being equal to half the FIV sensitive use value for soil. All SSDVs must, however, be higher than “x” times the local geochemical background values, if known, “x” being equal to 2 for ubiquitous substances and to 5 for the other substances, and they also should exceed the quantification limits of the suitable analytical methods.

In the absence of an SSDV for a substance, one should start by establishing the FIV sensitive use using the criteria of Chapter 2.

ANALYSIS METHODS

The reference methods for analysing surface waters or groundwater are in principle those that were defined by the Ministerial Decree of 20 February 1990, concerning the reference methods for analyzing water destined for human consumption (French Hansard of 28 February 1990). If necessary, other AFNOR standards, or relevant ISO or foreign standards, can be used in order of decreasing priority. The reference methods for soil analyses are, in order of decreasing priority, those set by AFNOR, then the ISO standards, and finally relevant foreign methods.

Analytical methods should be adapted to the magnitudes to be measured. For certain substances, the guide values are taken as equal to the quantification limit of the analytical method (QL). In this case, the most powerful analytical method should be considered.

FIV AND SSDV TABLES

 

SSDV

 FIV soil

FIV waters

 
mg/kg MS
Sensitive use
Non-sensitive use
Sensitive use
Non-sensitive use
METALS
Aluminium total, Al
(6) (6) (6) 200 (17)  1 mg/l
Antimony, Sb
50 100 (3) 250 (3) 10 (17) 50
Silver, Ag
(6) (6) (6) 10 (17) 50
Arsenic, As
19 (8) 37 (1) (8) 120 (1) (8) 50 (17) 250
Barium, Ba
312 625 (4) 3125 100(21) 1 mg/l(22)
Beryllium, Be
250 500 (3) 500 (3) (6) (6)
Cadmium, Cd
10 20 (2) 60 (2) 5 (17) 25
Chrome total, Cr
65 130 (1) 7000 (1) 50 (17) 250
Cobalt, Co
120 240 (4) 1200 (6) (6)
Copper, Cu
95  190 (4) 950 1 mg/l (17) 2 mg/l
Manganese, Mn
(6) (6) (6) 50 (17) 250
Mercury, Hg
3.5 7 (1)  600 (1) 1 (17) 5
Molybdenum, Mo
100 200 (4) 1000 70 (18) 350
Nickel, Ni
70 140 (2) 900 (2) 50 (17) 250
Lead, Pb 
200 400 (2) 2000 (2) 50 (17) 250
Selenium, Se
(6) (6) (6) 10 (17) 50
Thallium, Th
5 10 (3) pvl (3) (6) (6)
Vanadium, V
280 560 (3) pvl (3) (6) (6)
Zinc, Zn
4500 9000 (1) pvl (1)  5 mg/l (17) 10 mg/l
The concentration units are expressed in µg/l for waters, except where mentioned otherwise (mg/l),
and in mg/kg of dry matter for soils.

 

SSDV

 FIV soil

FIV waters

 
mg/kg MS
Sensitive use
Non-sensitive use
Sensitive use
Non-sensitive use
OTHER INORGANICS
Ammonium, NH4
(6) (6) (6) 500 (17) 4 mg/l (22)
Chlorides, Cl
(6) (6) (6) 200 mg/l (17) 400 mg/l
Cyanides (free), CN
25 50 (2) 100 (2) 50 (17) 250
Fluorides, F
(6) (6) (6) 1.5 mg/l (17) 3 mg/l
Nitrates, NO3
(6) (6) (6) 50 mg/l (17) 100 mg/l
Nitrites, NO2
(6) (6) (6) 100 (17) 500
Sulphates, SO4
(6) (6) (6) 250 mg/l (17) 500 mg/l
The concentration units are expressed in µg/l for waters, except where mentioned otherwise (mg/l),
and in mg/kg of dry matter for soils.

 

SSDV

 FIV soil

FIV waters

 
mg/kg MS
Sensitive use
Non-sensitive use
Sensitive use
Non-sensitive use
AROMATIC HYDROCARBONS
Benzene
1 2.5 (1) pvl (1) 1 (20) 5
Ethylbenzene
25 50 (4) 250 300 (18) 1.5 mg/l
Styrene
50 100 (4) 500 20 (18) 100
Toluene
5 10 (3) 120 (3) 700 (18) 3.5 mg/l
Xylenes (total)
5 10 (3) 100 (3) 500 (18) 2.5 mg/l
The concentration units are expressed in µg/l for waters, except where mentioned otherwise (mg/l),
and in mg/kg of dry matter for soils.

 

SSDV

 FIV soil

FIV waters

 
mg/kg MS
Sensitive use
Non-sensitive use
Sensitive use
Non-sensitive use
POLYCYCLIC AROMATIC HYDROCARBONS
PAH total (7)
(9) (9) (9) 0.2 (17) (23) 1 (23)
Anthracene
  pvl (1) pvl (1) (6) (6)
Benzo(a)anthracene
7 13.9 (1) 252 (1) (6) (6)
Benzo(k)fluoranthene
450 900 (1) 2520 (1) (6) (6)
Chrysene
5175 10350 (1) 25200 (1) (6) (6)
Benzo(a)pyrene    
3.5 7 (1) 25 (1) 0.01 (17) 0.05
Fluoranthene
3050 6100 (1) pvl (1) (6) (6)
Indeno(1,2,3-c,d)pyrene   
8 16.1 (1) 252 (1) (6) (6)
Naphthalene     
23 46 (1) pvl (1) (6) (6)
The concentration units are expressed in µg/l for waters, except where mentioned otherwise (mg/l),
and in mg/kg of dry matter for soils.

 

SSDV

 FIV soil

FIV waters

 
mg/kg MS
Sensitive use
Non-sensitive use
Sensitive use
Non-sensitive use
HALOGENATED AROMATIC HYDROCARBONS
Monochlorobenzene
8 15 (3) 170 (3) 300 (18) 1.5 mg/l
1,2-Dichlorobenzene
25 50 (3) pvl (3) 1 mg/l (18) 5 mg/l
1,3-Dichlorobenzene
25 50 (3) pvl (3) (6) (6)
1,4-Dichlorobenzene
25 50 (3) pvl (3) 300 (18) 1.5 mg/l
1,2,4-Trichlorobenzene 
12 25 (3) 300 (3) 20 (18) (24) 100 (24)
Hexachlorobenzene
4 8 (2) 200 (2) 1 (18) 5
The concentration units are expressed in µg/l for waters, except where mentioned otherwise (mg/l),
and in mg/kg of dry matter for soils.

 

SSDV

 FIV soil

FIV waters

 
mg/kg MS
Sensitive use
Non-sensitive use
Sensitive use
Non-sensitive use
HALOGENATED POLYCYCLIC HYDROCARBONS
Chloronaphthalene
5 (4) 10 (4) 50 (6) (6)
PCDD / PCDF
 
500 ngTE/kg 1000 ngTE/kg (2) 10000 ngTE/kg (2) (6) (6)
PCB    
(6) (10) (6) (10) (6) (10) 0.1 (17) (25) 0.5 (25)
Arochlor 1016
0.05 0.1 (1) 60 (1) (6) (6)
Arochlor 1254
0.05 0.1 (1) 17 (1) (6) (6)
The concentration units are expressed in µg/l for waters, except where mentioned otherwise (mg/l),
and in mg/kg of dry matter for soils.

 

SSDV

 FIV soil

FIV waters

 
mg/kg MS
Sensitive use
Non-sensitive use
Sensitive use
Non-sensitive use
HALOGENATED ALIPHATIC HYDROCARBONS
Bromoform
(6) (6) (6) 100 (20) (29) 500 (29)
Chloroform
LQ 0.1 (3) 0.5 (3) 100 (20) (29) 500 (29)
Vinyl chloride
LQ (11) 0.02 (1) 30 (1) 0.5 (20) 2.5
1,2-Dichloroethane
2 4 (4) 20 3 (20) 15
1,1-Dichloroethylene
(6) (6) (6) 30 (18) 150
1,2-Dichloroethylene (cis)     
3 (1) 6 (1) pvl (1) 50 (18) 250
Dichloromethane
LQ 0.1 (3) 2 (3) 20 (18) 100
1,2-Dichloropropane     
0.5 1 (3) 5 (3) 40 (19) 200
1,3-Dichloropropene
(6) (6) (6) 20 (18) 100
Hexachlorobutadiene
(6) (6) (6) 0.6 (18) 3
Tetrachloroethylene
3 6 (1) 5300 (1) 10 (20) (26) 50 (26)
Tetrachloromethane
0.5 1 (4) 5 2 (18) 10
1,1,1-Trichloroethane
7.5 15 (3) 180 (3) 2 mg/l (18) 10 mg/l
Trichloroethylene     
0.1 0.2 (1) 3020 (1) 10 (20) (26) 50 (26)
The concentration units are expressed in µg/l for waters, except where mentioned otherwise (mg/l),
and in mg/kg of dry matter for soils.
 

SSDV

 FIV soil

FIV waters

 
mg/kg MS
Sensitive use
Non-sensitive use
Sensitive use
Non-sensitive use
PHENOLS and CHLOROPHENOLS
Catechol
10 20 (4) 100 (6) (6)
Chlorophenols total
5 (12) 10 (4) (12) 50 (6) (6)
Cresols total
2 5 (4) 25 (6) (6)
Hydroquinone
5 10 (4) 50 (6) (6)
Pentachlorophenol
50 100 (2) 250 (2) 9 (18) 45
Phenol
25 50 (3) pvl (3) (6) (6)
Resorcinol 
5 10 (4) 50 (6) (6)
2,4,6-Trichlorophenol
(6) (6) (6) 200 (18) 1 mg/l
Phenol index     
(6) (6) (6) 0.5 (17) 100 (22)
The concentration units are expressed in µg/l for waters, except where mentioned otherwise (mg/l),
and in mg/kg of dry matter for soils.

 

SSDV

 FIV soil

FIV waters

 
mg/kg MS
Sensitive use
Non-sensitive use
Sensitive use
Non-sensitive use
PESTICIDES
Aldrine
2 4 (2) pvl (2) 0.03 (17) 0.15
Atrazine
3 6 (4) 30 0.1 (17) 0.5
Carbaryl
2 5 (4) 25 0.1 (17) 0.5
Carbofurane     
1 2 (4) 10 0.1 (17) 0.5
DDD,DDE,DDT total
2 4 (4) 20 0.1 (17)) 0.5
Dieldrine
(6) (6) (6) 0.03 (17) 0.15
"Drines" total
2 4 (4) 20 0.1 (17) 0.5
HCH total
5 10 (2) (15) 400 <a href="french.html#%3Ca%20href=" #(2=""> (2) (15) 0.1 (17) 0.5
Heptachlore and epoxyde of heptachlore
(6) (6) (6) 0.03 (17) 0.15
Lindane
(6) (6) (6) 0.1 (17) 0.5
Manebe
17 35 (4) 175 0.1 (17) 0.5
Other pesticides, by substance
(6) (6) (6) 0.1 (17)  0.5
Total pesticides
(6) (6) (6) 0.5 (17) 2.5
The concentration units are expressed in µg/l for waters, except where mentioned otherwise (mg/l),
and in mg/kg of dry matter for soils.

 

SSDV

 FIV soil

FIV waters

 
mg/kg MS
Sensitive use
Non-sensitive use
Sensitive use
Non-sensitive use
PHTHALATES
Phthalates total
30 (13) 60 (4) (13) 300 (6) (6)
Di(2-ethylhexyl)phtalate   
(6) (6) (6) 8 (18) 40
The concentration units are expressed in µg/l for waters, except where mentioned otherwise (mg/l),
and in mg/kg of dry matter for soils.

 

SSDV

 FIV soil

FIV waters

 
mg/kg MS
Sensitive use
Non-sensitive use
Sensitive use
Non-sensitive use
ORGANIC NITROGEN COMPOUNDS
Acrylamide     
(6) (6) (6) 0.1 (20) 0.5
Kjeldahl nitrogen     
(6) (6) (6) 1 mg/l (17) (27) 2 mg/l
The concentration units are expressed in µg/l for waters, except where mentioned otherwise (mg/l),
and in mg/kg of dry matter for soils.

 

SSDV

 FIV soil

FIV waters

 
mg/kg MS
Sensitive use
Non-sensitive use
Sensitive use
Non-sensitive use
VARIOUS
Hydrocarbons
2500 (14) 5000 (4) (14) 25000 10 (17) (28) 1 mg/l (22) (28)
The concentration units are expressed in µg/l for waters, except where mentioned otherwise (mg/l),
and in mg/kg of dry matter for soils.
(1) Official French values
(2) Official German values
(3) Planned German values in: "Berechnung zur Prüfwerten zur Bewertung von Altlasten", Bundesanzeiger Nr. 161a, 28 August 1999
(4) Dutch values 1994
(5) Dutch values 1998
(6) Value to be determined if the substance is present in soil or in water
(7) Concerns the water environment
(8) Values for pH > 7 or Eh > -250 mV
(9) For soil, use the values by substance
(10) Analyses to be compared as a reference to Arochlor (1016 or 1254) of a composition as close as possible to that to be defined:

Substances

 France
Arochlor 1016

France
Arochlor 1254

MonoCB
x  
DiCB
x  
2,4,4’-TriCB
x x
2,2’,5,5’-TetraCB
x x
2,2’,4,5,5’-PentaCB
x x
2,3’,4,4’,5-PentaCB
  x
2,2’,3,4,4’,5’- HexaCB
  x
2,2’,3,4,4’,5-HexaCB
  x
2,2’,4,4’,5,5’-HexaCB
  x
2,2’,3,4,4’,5,5’-HeptaCB
  x
(11) QL= quantification limit
(12) If the contamination is due to a single compound of the chlorophenol group, this value is used
(13) Value applicable to the sum of phthalates present
(14) When contamination is caused by mixtures (petrol, diesel, etc.), it will also be necessary to determine the aromatic hydrocarbons and PAH contents
(15) German value applicable to the sum of ??? isomers
(16) Dutch value applicable to the sum of ??? isomers
(17) Decree of 3 January 1989, Appendix 1 –1
(18) WHO guide values, Appendix 2 (1994)
(19) WHO guide values, Appendix 2 (1998);
(20) Directive EC 98/83 (part B, Chemical parameters);
(21) Decree of 3 January 1989, Appendix 1 - 3
(22) Decree of 3 January 1989, Appendix 3
(23) Value for the sum of six substances: benzo(3,4)fluoranthene, benzo(11,12)fluoranthene, benzo(1,12)perylene, benzo(3,4)pyrene, fluoranthene, indeno(1,2,3-cd)pyrene (Decree of 3 January 1989, Appendixes 1-1 and 1-3)
(24) Sum of trichlorobenzenes, according to (18)
(25) For each substance, according to (17)
(26) Sum of the concentrations in trichloroethylene and tetrachloroethylene, according to (20)
(27) Kjeldahl nitrogen, expressed in nitrogen (except for N of NO3 and NO2), according to (17)
(28) Dissolved or emulsified hydrocarbons after carbon-tetrachloride extraction, according to (17)
(29) Value applicable to the sum of trihalomethanes according to (20)

§ Source:  Darmendrail D. (2001) - The French approach to contaminated-land management. BRGM/RP-51098-FR, 150 p., 3 Fig., 3 Tables, 5 App. [PDF 872KB]