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The Water Framework Directive of December 2000 which commits the countries of the European Union with a goal of regaining the quality of the water and the aquatic environments by 2015, supposes a better protection of these environments against any type of pollution. In the event of failure of the preventive measures, accidental releases of liquid hydrocarbons may pollute streams, reach underground aquifers, estuaries, coastlines and permanently alter aquatic fauna and flora or threaten the natural resource used for the production of drinking water. This fact sheet presents some emblematic cases.

Date of the document: June 2009.