Metals present many challenges to those responsible for managing their environmental safety. Accounting for the bioavailability of metals in the environment, using techniques such as the Biotic Ligand Model, resolves many of these difficulties. However, the application of bioavailability-based techniques is often considered by environmental regulators to be difficult during routine monitoring, compliance assessment or permitting.

To address these perceived difficulties a free website ( has been developed to guide those interested in using bioavailability-based approaches for assessing the risk of metals in the freshwater aquatic environment, particularly within the EU Water Framework Directive.

bio-met is a collaborative initiative funded by the European Copper Institute, International Zinc Association and the Nickel Producers Environmental Research Association (NiPERA). The website and associated tools and resources have been developed collaboratively by ARCHE and wca. is intended as a “one-stop shop” of information, software and guidance. The bio-met site is currently focussed on copper, nickel and zinc, but may be extended in the future to include other metals. resources include:

  • The bio-met bioavailability tool. A ‘user friendly’ software tool, based on Biotic Ligand Models, for calculating the bioavailability of copper, nickel and zinc in different freshwaters.
  • An evidence base of information on metal bioavailability and its use in the regulatory risk assessment of metals. This section also contains information on the development and validation of the bio-met bioavailability tool.
  • A series of case studies that demonstrate the application of bioavailability-based approaches within the risk-management of metals in the aquatic environment

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