01/16/2012, Berlin

Report about drinking water quality in Germany:

German Federal Ministry of Health and the Federal Environment Agency report high drinking water quality

99 percent of strict legal rules are observed – BDEW: Capital expenditure of the water industry ensures high quality

The German Federal Ministry of Health and the Federal Environment Agency have presented today the latest report about drinking water quality in Germany. "The report shows that drinking water in Germany has a good to very good quality throughout the country. High investments in water supply facilities, grids and drinking water resources protection essentially contribute to this success", Martin Weyand, General Executive Manager Water/Wastewater of the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (Bundesverband der Energie- und Wasserwirtschaft - BDEW) said today in Berlin. After verification of the data submitted by the German Federal Laender for the period under review from 2008 to 2010, the Federal Ministry of Health and the Federal Environment Agency established that drinking water in Germany accordingly has a good to very good quality. Controls confirm that micro-biological and chemical quality parameters meet the strict legal requirements at 99 percent and limit values are exceeded only in a few exceptional cases.

According to the Drinking Water Directive of the European Union, EU Member States are required to inform consumers and the European Commission about the quality of drinking water at regular intervals over a period of three years. In Germany, this report has to be submitted by the Federal Ministry of Health and the Federal Environmental Agency. The first report had confirmed in 2008 that the requirements of the EU Drinking Water Directive had been completely transposed into national law.

"Since 1990, the water industry in Germany has invested more than 110 billion Euros. The companies of the water industry are subject to a continuous technical and economic modernisation process. It is essential to refine the high standards we have achieved in terms of drinking water quality as compared to other countries throughout the world". According to the report, the violation of drinking water limit values has decreased to almost zero percent with regard to nitrate. Exceeding of limit values has thus considerably decreased during the past few years.

"However, the reduction of occurrences where the admissible limit value for nitrate in drinking water has been exceeded does not automatically mean that nitrate pollution of water bodies and raw water resources have decreased. The water sector considers that it is still essential to avoid nitrate introduction particularly from diffuse and direct agricultural sources. To this end, it is necessary that the Fertilisation and the Fertiliser Ordinance be completely adjusted to the provisions of the EU Water Framework Directive and the EU Nitrate Directive."

Check-up of drinking water installations in households showed in a few cases that limit values were exceeded which was attributable to leaden water pipes or fittings containing lead which still exist in some drinking water installations. Limit value transgressions of this kind or transgressions of copper, nickel and cadmium limit values found in a few cases in drinking water are mainly attributable to drinking water installations or fittings in buildings not professionally and duly mounted or licensed. In most cases, these were not installed by a specialist plumbing firm. House owners are responsible for drinking water installations in buildings. BDEW emphasises again that the technical rules under the Drinking Water Ordinance also need to be observed for drinking water installations in buildings. Should there be any questions, customers may contact their water supplier or local specialist plumbing firms.

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Jan Ulland
Pressesprecher / Press Spokesman
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