Healthy water from private wells

German Federal Environment Agency helps owners with new guidebook

Nearly one per cent of the population in Germany relies on a private well for its drinking water. The Drinking Water Ordinance (TrinkwV) also sets quality standards for the drinking water in these very small water supplies, which are typically found in rural areas. A new Federal Environment Agency (UBA) publication on healthy drinking water from private wells has recommendations for operation and use and shows what to do so that water can continue to be safe and healthy. The publication is available in German and free of charge. It provides information about compliance with certain laws regarding the use and operation of private wells and springs, and it names potential risks to drinking water quality. It also gives advice on how to address risks. “Only safe operation of wells or springs results in drinking water that is tasty and healthy“, said UBA President Jochen Flasbarth.

More than 700,000 people in Germany draw their drinking water from their own wells and springs. That figure is equal to the population of Frankfurt/ Main, or about one per cent of the entire population.

Private wells are a vital source of drinking water in many rural regions. Unlike at central water works, however, the drinking water from these systems does not always meet the requirements of the Drinking Water Ordinance for microbiological and chemical quality. Data available to UBA verify this finding. “Each and everybody in Germany has the right to water that is both tasty and healthy”, said the UBA president. The guidebook aims to help operators of private wells and springs in achieving this goal.

The publication has practical insights and information on how to protect water catchment area and how the system can be kept safe and in good working order. It also has photocopiable protocol forms for documenting inspections of the system. There is also a list of important contacts to whom one can address any unanswered questions.

Further information and links

The guidebook was co-published by UBA and the Federal Government-Länder working group on small drinking water supply systems (BLAG). Following the issue of its first publication (Rund um das Trinkwasser,) this guidebook is the second in a series that UBA publishes to highlight drinking water issues.

The new UBA guidebook entitled Gesundes Trinkwasser aus eigenen Brunnen und Quellen - Empfehlungen für Betrieb und Nutzung [Healthy drinking water from private wells and springs - recommendations for operation and use] is available free of charge from the Federal Environment Agency, c/o GVP, PF 3303 61, 53183 Bonn

Dessau-Roßlau, 8 March 2012

Umweltbundesamt Hauptsitz

Wörlitzer Platz 1
06844 Dessau-Roßlau

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