Why filter water (again)?
- It is contaminated by taste-disturbing organic substances, so you may not like it.
- It is contaminated by many substances that are NOT covered by the Drinking Water Ordinance. Such as residues of pharmaceuticals, pesticides, asbestos fibers, microplastics, industrial chemicals, and much more.
- It is contaminated by bacteria that slipped through during processing or were introduced later. There are press releases of water contaminated with bacteria almost every week, residents are asked to boil their water often for several weeks.
- It is contaminated by heavy metals such as lead or copper, which have accumulated in the water on the way through old water pipes to your tap.
Drinking Water Ordinance (TrinkwV)
The original version of the Drinking Water Ordinance dates from 2001, but has since been revised and supplemented several times, most recently in early 2018. In view of new medical knowledge and improved test methods, the regulations for ensuring drinking water quality in Germany have been gradually renewed in recent years. The task of the TrinkwV is to ensure and improve the quality of drinking water in Germany. The TrinkwV is based on the EU Drinking Water Directive and the German Infection Protection Act. It defines the quality of drinking water with regard to human health as follows (paragraph 37 section 1): “Water for human use must be designed in such a way that drinking or
The Drinking Water Ordinance regulates the quality of drinking water, its treatment, the obligations of water suppliers and the monitoring of drinking water. Reference is made to generally recognized rules of technology as well as national and international standards for the professional production, treatment and distribution of drinking water. If water suppliers and in the further course also landlords / house owners verifiably observe these technical regulations and notes, they ensure to a sufficient degree that “the drinking water arriving at the consumer meets the requirements of the Drinking Water Ordinance”.
But does this also mean that the tap water reaches the consumer in perfect condition? This is controversial. The Drinking Water Ordinance (TrinkwV) is divided into chemical, microbiological and radiological requirements with binding limit values for a number of around 50 possible pollutants. The drinking water is constantly checked and processed accordingly in the approximately 6,000 waterworks in Germany. In practice, the treated water is considered drinkable and digestible. You keep reading that German drinking water is the most controlled food with excellent quality.
Through industry, agriculture, environmental influences and us humans, more and more pollutants enter the water cycle that are not regulated and checked at all by the TrinkwV. In addition to the 50 controlled pollutants, there are a large number of other ingredients that nobody monitors, including fertilizers, corrosion and plant protection agents, trihalomethanes, asbestos and residues of medicinal products, hormones, plasticizers, viruses and heavy metals.
Up to 100,000 impurities and pollutants can occur in our drinking water. Renowned institutes and analysts such as Ökotest, Stiftung Warentest, Frontal 21, etc. regularly detect dangerous ingredients and pathogens in German drinking water. The EU has threatened Germany to pay fines for having too high concentrations of fertilizer residues in the drinking water in some regions.
Industrial water / process water
From waterworks to faucets
Transport and dangers in the distribution network
The distribution network in this country is estimated to be over 500,000 kilometers long. All German water pipes at the equator would be connected around the earth more than eleven times. Around 5,000 million cubic meters of drinking water flow through water pipes in Germany every year – in liters this is a “5” with 12 zeros. More than 99% of the population in Germany are connected to a public drinking water network.
“The drinking water that is treated in the waterworks reaches the water tap of the consumer via a sometimes very complex water distribution system. In this way, the water comes into contact with a variety of different materials and components. These can release substances into the drinking water that change the smell or taste of the drinking water, have health relevance or lead to an increase in microorganisms and thus possibly also pathogens. “
Drinking water experiences a more or less strong change in its composition due to the distribution to consumers on fixed lines. This change in the water composition after treatment is based on interactions with surfaces in contact with water, such as. B. pipe materials, both in the public distribution networks (problems: iron, asbestos cement, biofilms). The demands on the treatment technology have increased in recent years because the distribution networks have grown and with it the longer periods of time for the treated drinking water from the waterworks to the consumer. In addition to pathogens, toxic chemical substances also play a role in drinking water.
A few years ago, microbiologists assumed that the amount of germs from public supply networks was manageable, and it is now known that drinking water at the point of transfer from the public city water network to a building contains between 40,000 and 200,000 germs per milliliter. Most of these bacteria come from natural sources. But even in the distribution network on the way to the consumer, with every milliliter of water from the city network, up to 200,000 germs get into the pipe networks of buildings. In addition to the type of raw water, the length of the pipes between the waterworks and the consumer also plays a role in the degree of contamination. Temperature and nutrient supply are decisive for the multiplication of microorganisms.
Old pipes in the house
Another factor that affects the quality of drinking water is its branching. The pipe system is branched with dead pipes and undergoes extension and conversion wherever required. This also includes the concern of water stagnation in pipes which are rarely used. Stagnant water poses a bigger threat, i.e., if the water remains there in the pipeline for long, it is more likely to come in contact with different particles and absorbs some of them. You may find the traces of nickel flowing through rarely used taps.
Bacteria like legionella look for an optimal temperature of around 20 degrees to grow. In lukewarm water, bacteria multiply at a quick pace as it provides them favorable conditions. Be it an old building with a bad insulation or a hot water pipe, dangers can’t be neglected. To notice this, you need to turn on the cold water tap and check if you are getting hot water from it initially or not.
Drinking water hygiene
Maintaining good standards of drinking Hygienic is as vital for personal hygiene. Access to clean drinking water is the right of every human; however, it is still taken for granted all across the world.
Hygiene focuses on prevention from disease and is usually associated with cleanliness to maintain health. In 1892, Germany experienced a serious cholera epidemic that spread out in Hamburg consequently leading to 8,000 deaths; this proposed the emergence and importance of drinking water hygiene. Thereafter, research done by Robert Koch revealed the connection between poor wastewater disposal, the presence of pathogens in water and poor drinking water. This led to the ideation and establishment of Drinking Water Treatment Plant laid with strict hygienic and regulatory requirements.
In Germany, water for an estimate of 90% of consumers is sourced from public drinking water network, this makes this network important. Domestic installation, condition of the drinking water network and careful water treatment, etc. comes under it to make it accountable for drinking water hygiene. Drinking water contains organic substances in a considerable number; it could be both toxic and non-toxic microorganisms. This poses a question on the sterilization of drinking water. In few cases, water remains stagnant in pipes ad heats up for a period and due to this, microorganisms multiply. Old pipes damage over a period of time and cause heating in the pipe to make it unhygienic. Also, studies show that the public sector drinking water installation fails to meet these hygienic and regulatory requirements. Therefore, re-treatment of water at the point of final extraction would be the simplest and most suitable option. Alb water filters work efficiently to remove all possible impurities from water and are a cost-effective alternative.
Healthy tap water?
Waterworks are deemed responsible to supply drinking water all around, drinking water is considered to be healthy only if it is free from contamination and does not harm humans. Besides, choosing between tap water and bottled mineral water has always been a difficult choice for consumers.
According to the Federal Environment Agency, tap water in Germany is the most strictly controlled foodstuff and is of excellent quality. The German Drinking Water Ordinance has certain pre-defined stringent limit values with a list of about 50 different ingredients. Nevertheless, this list has been criticized by environmental associations on the fact that it excludes various other chemical and microbiological contaminations in tap water. This includes microplastics, hormones, fertilizers, plasticizers, drug residues, pesticides, etc. These impurities remain there in the water and are not treated in waterworks.
People prefer bottled water over tap water considering it to be free from impurities as it is extracted from underground at great depths; it contains least or no contaminants. Nevertheless, it can be detected for germs, pollutants, and residues of pesticides which are frequently found in it. Additionally, straight plastic bottled water can contain traces of plasticizers and microplastic. Alb Filter's filter solutions can be an ideal and reliable treatment method at the point of extraction.