Ingredients in tap water
Why should we filter drinking water before using it?
In Germany, drinking water sourced from taps is officially considered as the best-monitored beverage and follows strict legal controls to ensure quality. However, the yardstick on which this quality is measured is in itself questionable. The water is purified according to the German Drinking Water Ordinance which defines limit values for pollutant concentrations for about 50 pollutants; this includes chemical, microbiological, and radiological pollutant values. However, if we start to count the number of pollutants, it will go beyond 2 lacs.
Pathogens, drug residues, hormones, pollutants, and other chemicals are not even taken into account and are neglected in Drinking Water Ordinance. Thus, impurities are always there in drinking water which affects its quality. Initially, the water is processed and treated for these 50 impurities but on its way from waterworks to home, it happens to get dissolved with impurities present in pipelines, making it impure again. This makes filtration a necessity if you are quality conscious.
German Drinking Water Ordinance is Inadequately Applied
Improper public drinking water treatment
Every citizen has the right to get quality drinking water.
Water supplies must ensure an adequate supply of quality water to all. However, when it comes to the water treatment process several factors barge in, i.e., cost aspect of treatment, technical possibilities, overall requirement, health compatibility, and surely political aspect. Dependency upon obsolete treatment procedure makes it less effective to result in contaminated water supply. Also, 50% of drinking water suppliers working on a smaller scale often neglect the limit values to exceed it for faecal germs thus leaving the contamination within it.
As the rule of thumb, tap water should be hygienic to use, should not affect human health or the environment anyhow, and should be free of impurities and pollutants. Therefore, the Drinking Water Ordinance has issued a list of best-known ingredients with their limit values. These values are frequently updated upon the addition of new ingredients and new information about the negative effects of present pollutants. Hence, waterworks have to remain updated for all this at high technical costs, resulting in high prices.
Outdated technical support results in unfair analysis to make the situation alarming. The Drinking Water Ordinance follows 100 years old smear method for germ detection.
However, it is discovered that only 0.1 – 1% of the bacteria can form colonies present in drinking water. On the contrary, modern-day methods have shown that the germ proliferation rate in tap water is exceptionally higher than assumed. Methods used for high-resolution analysis like flow cytometry have shown this.
According to a study in Munich, an approximately 8,000 and 200,000 germs per ml are flushed through the city’s drinking water supply into buildings. With this, flows a combination of bacteria, pseudomonas, and organisms such as amoebae, pathogens like legionella, and innumerable pollutants. Besides, it contains dissolved organic components and nutrients like nitrates, phosphates, or dissolved organic components, which contribute to affecting pipe networks of buildings adversely.
Its A Long Way- From waterworks to the faucet
Do not rely on a Black Box
Impact of pollutants and bacteria from tap water
Water is an essential life-saving beverage as our body contains 70% water. On an average, a normal human being is advised to drink 8 litres of water on a daily basis and 60,000 to 100,000 litres during his lifetime, one can do without food for days but surviving without water or any other liquid is hardly possible for even a few days. Water is essential for the smooth functioning of the body of all organisms, from brain functioning, cardiovascular system, digestion, nutrient transport, metabolism to even building up of cell structure. Therefore, a minute particle of pollutants in water can harm this functioning and can leave a negative impact on the body.
Despite the water treatment process the tap water goes through, the presence of pathogens, microorganisms, drug residues, heavy metals like copper and nitrates, hormone-like substances, microplastics, pesticides, or herbicides, and plasticizers, etc. can’t be neglected. The more the pollutant, the more the risk!
To calculate the risk, around 150,000 active cells of pathogens and microorganisms can be found in one millilitre of water. Upon finding favorable conditions such as temperature above 20 degrees or low flow, or stagnation, these germs can multiply at a quick pace, thus resulting in a dire emergency. Now, those who are having a healthy immune system can fight with these pollutants while children or aged people with a weak immune system are at high risk of catching severe diseases.
Pathogens like legionellae are silent guests who enter our body through respiration to trigger severe pneumonia named legionellosis. In Germany, more than 3, 00,000 people get infected and approx. 3000 people die due to legionellae every year.