Drinking water in Germany must meet certain quality standards in order to be safe for human consumption. This includes limit values for various parameters that can affect the water, such as bacteria, heavy metals and chemicals.
How are the limit values regulated?
In Germany, the limit values for drinking water are set by the Drinking Water Ordinance (TrinkwV). This ordinance specifies the requirements for the quality of drinking water and defines the permissible limit values for various parameters.
The exact and current limit values can be found at the Federal Environment Agency.
Which values are regulated?
One of the most important parameters that is monitored is the bioburden of the water. There must be no pathogenic bacteria or viruses in the water and the number of colony forming units (CFU) must not exceed certain limits.
Another important parameter is the entry of heavy metals. The Drinking Water Ordinance stipulates that drinking water must not contain more than certain amounts of heavy metals such as lead, mercury and cadmium. These limits are very low to ensure the drinking water is safe for human consumption.
Chemical parameters such as nitrate and nitrite, as well as pesticides and other organic chemicals are also monitored and limit values apply.
Is there a water hardness limit?
In Germany there is no official limit value for water hardness. However, the water hardness is regarded as an indicator of the amount of dissolved calcium and magnesium salts in the water and is measured in degrees of German hardness (°dH) or millimoles per liter (mmol/L).
Although there is no official water hardness limit, there are recommendations for water hardness issued by various institutions and experts. Some recommend a water hardness below 17°dH, while others consider a water hardness below 10°dH to be optimal.
However, it is important to note that water hardness does not directly affect drinking water quality and that people in hard water areas can drink without problems. However, it can affect household appliances such as kettles, dishwashers and washing machines.
Who checks the limit values?
Compliance with the limit values for drinking water in Germany is regularly checked by the responsible authorities. Water supply companies and public drinking water supplies must regularly take and analyze samples of the water to ensure that the quality of the water meets the requirements of the Drinking Water Ordinance.
Overall, the drinking water in Germany is of high quality and corresponds to internationally recognized standards. By complying with the limit values set by the Drinking Water Ordinance and by regularly monitoring the water by the responsible authorities, it can be ensured that the drinking water is safe and healthy for the population.