German drinking water receives top marks very well



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German drinking water receives an overall rating of "very good" from the Federal Environment Agency

Drinking water in Germany is better than its reputation. The current report on drinking water quality by the Federal Ministry of Health and the German Federal Environment Agency (UAB) certifies that tap water in Germany is of exceptionally good quality. In the past year, limit values ​​for larger waterworks were rarely exceeded, as stated in the test report. The values ​​for lead, copper and cadmium are still problematic, even if there is no direct health risk for the end user.

The drinking water in Germany is predominantly of impeccable quality, according to the final test report from the Federal Environment Agency. For example, exceeding the statutory limits is a rare exception in all large waterworks. Tap water is one of the most consumed foods in Germany, which is why it is subject to strict requirements. These are specified in the drinking water ordinance. For example, there must be no pathogenic germs, viruses, fungi or chemical substances in harmful concentrations. According to the ordinance, the water must be "pure and suitable for enjoyment", as it is stated in the statutory ordinance. Almost all microbiological and chemical quality tests were able to meet the requirements by around 99 percent.

Nitrate pollution has decreased significantly
Although high concentrations of nitrates are detectable in the groundwater, the limit values ​​according to the Federal Environment Agency "would not be exceeded in the drinking water". If consumers take too large amounts over a longer period of time, serious illnesses can arise, which is why attention is paid to a low content. For example, nitrates that contain heavy metals as cations can be carcinogenic or damage the cardiovascular system. The results have now shown that there has been a downward trend in nitrate pollution since 1999. A good eleven years ago, the statutory nitrate excess was 1.1 percent. In 2010 the nationwide average limit was almost zero percent, which means that there was almost no exceeding of the maximum nitrate value. The good separation was achieved by "more extensive treatment measures and by mixing less polluted water," said a UBA spokesman.

Lead, copper, nickel and cadmium values ​​are still too high
A major problem is apparently the exceedance of the toxic metal lead. However, in most cases the high values ​​do not result from the waterworks, but from the lead pipes and fittings that are still installed in many places. The lead-containing lines are generally not technically recognized, but are nevertheless often used. For this reason, values ​​for nickel, copper and cadmium can occasionally be exceeded. Even if "limit values ​​are exceeded, there is usually no" danger to the health of the citizens. "

Exceeding coli bacteria
The test data come from the period 2008 to 2010. The experts compared all incoming reports from the municipalities and federal states. It was found that "only one percent of the drinking water samples" were objectionable, according to the UBA. Depending on the location and region, one to three percent of the sample measurements in the waterworks or pipe networks were objectionable. There were slight to moderate violations of the limit values. The cause of the exceptional phenomena were individual substances that are used in agriculture and come from pesticides. Other tests had temporarily shown that coliform bacteria were crossed, whereby the bacterial strain "is not infectious for humans". However, the occurrence shows a general deterioration in water quality, which in turn makes further investigations necessary "to clarify the cause and, if necessary, to take preventive measures to protect the health of the population."

The slight decrease in nitrate concentrations in tap water is encouraging. During the presentation of the report, the chairman of UBA emphasized that "German drinking water can be drunk without hesitation." The quality and properties "are still getting top marks." As the number one food, the water should ultimately meet the high requirements.

Since 1999 the water supply systems have been invested
The Federal Association of Energy and Water Management (BDEW) said that water management had invested around 110 billion euros in the way it functions over the past 22 years. "The report by the Federal Environment Agency shows that German drinking water is of good to very good quality everywhere. The high investments for water supply systems, networks and drinking water resource protection make a significant contribution to this success," explained Martin Weyand, General Manager Water / Waste Water at BDEW . (sb)

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Photo credit: Huber / pixelio.de

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