Health for humans, animals & plants

Drinking water

In contrast to many other countries, Austria can cover its drinking water needs entirely from protected groundwater resources. The water reaches consumers mostly in a natural state and with excellent quality. Comprehensive monitoring - from source to tap - ensures a high level of protection for drinking water supplies in Austria.

Drinking water suppliers must have the water they supply tested at regular intervals. The examination and assessment of the drinking water as well as the monitoring of the water supply system itself may only be carried out by authorized persons or institutes such as AGES.

We test water from municipal water supply systems and public utilities throughout Austria, from water cooperatives to private well owners and food companies. Every year, more than 10,000 drinking water samples are analyzed for chemical, physical and microbiological parameters. Correct sampling is essential for accurate analysis. This must include an on-site inspection, during which environmental influences, operating conditions and structural framework conditions are also recorded. This is the only way to exclude influences that could falsify the results of the water analysis.

You can find more about our water analysis here

Control

The control of compliance with food law regulations is the responsibility of the provincial governor as the competent authority or the supervisory bodies trained for this purpose. The Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection coordinates the control and monitoring activities of the bodies involved.

A "multi-annual risk-based control plan for drinking water" contributes to the improvement of official drinking water monitoring. This control concept enables new potential hazards to be identified in good time and appropriate countermeasures to be taken before a problem arises. To this end, proposals for annual priority actions are collected and ranked by experts from various institutions and then discussed and specified in working groups with a view to actual implementation. In order to ensure safe drinking water, AGES is also involved in this complex monitoring system, which carries out a risk assessment according to scientific criteria and an analysis of the data according to recognized statistical methods.

Private domestic wells or springs, from which about 10% of the Austrian population obtains its drinking water, do not fall within the scope of public monitoring. In their own interest, the owners themselves must carry out regular checks on the quality of the water and the structural condition of the water dispenser.

Legal basis

The marketing of drinking water is regulated in more detail in the Food Safety and Consumer Protection Act (LMSVG) and in the Drinking Water Ordinance (TWV). These laws place the strictest requirements on the quality and monitoring of drinking water.

Anyone who provides drinking water and puts it into circulation is considered a food business operator in the sense of the Food Safety and Consumer Protection Act (LMSVG) and must have the drinking water tested at regular intervals as part of his obligation to carry out his own checks. The examination and assessment of the drinking water as well as the monitoring of the water supply system itself may only be carried out by authorized persons or institutes such as AGES.

In addition, the general requirements of the Drinking Water Ordinance are detailed in the Austrian Food Code and supplemented by indicator parameter values for parameters not explicitly mentioned in the Drinking Water Ordinance (e.g. magnesium, potassium, zinc, phosphate, etc.). There are also regulations on approved treatment and disinfection procedures as well as information on the course of an inspection procedure.

Trinkwasserinfo

Die vom Bundesministerium für Soziales, Gesundheit, Pflege und Konsumentenschutz (BMSGPK), der Österreichischen Vereinigung für das Gas- und Wasserfach (ÖVGW) und der AGES getragene Plattform „Infoportal Trinkwasser“ stellt vielfältige Informationen zum Thema Trinkwasser zur Verfügung.

Zentrales Element ist eine Web-Datenbank, in der Wasseranalysendaten aus ganz Österreich abrufbar sind. Diese werden von den Versorgungsunternehmen freiwillig zur Verfügung gestellt und regelmäßig aktualisiert. Über eine interaktive Österreichkarte oder der direkten Eingabe einer Postleitzahl können die gewünschten Daten schnell und intuitiv abgerufen werden.

Neben Untersuchungsergebnissen werden auch Hintergrundinformationen rund um das Thema Trinkwasser und Trinkwasserbefund geboten. Die einzelnen Inhalte und ihre Bedeutung sowie Fachbegriffe aus der Wissenschaft werden für alle BürgerInnen verständlich erklärt.

Zum Infoportal Trinkwasser

Drinking water findings

Drinking water suppliers must inform their customers at regular intervals about the quality of the drinking water supplied: This is done via the drinking water findings.

This report should provide as comprehensive an overview as possible of the chemical, physical and bacteriological properties of the drinking water, the structural and hygienic situation of the water supply system and the condition of the water supply. For this purpose, data such as appearance, odor & temperature of the water, structural condition of the plant, etc. are already collected during sampling by qualified personnel, which are completed by extensive analyses in accredited laboratories.

The values of a drinking water finding represent a snapshot at the time of sampling. Only regular analyses and their comparison with each other make it possible to guarantee water quality over a long period of time and, if necessary, to maintain it by taking appropriate measures.

Information for consumers must be provided at least once a year and must include at least the analysis values of the following parameters:

  • Nitrate
  • Pesticides
  • hydrogen ion concentration (pH value)
  • Total hardness
  • Carbonate hardness
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Sodium
  • Chloride
  • Sulfate

Drinking water investigations

Drinking water is the most important food. Drinking water testing provides a way to ensure cleanliness and thus safe use.

In the case of private water supplies such as domestic wells or proprietary springs, hygiene problems can arise in the event of structural defects caused by severe weather or damaging events. Around 16 percent of 5,860 drinking water tests carried out by private senders do not meet the requirements of the Drinking Water Ordinance, as germs such as E. coli, enterococci or Pseudomonas aeruginosa were detected. This does not mean that people are getting sick from this water, but that there is a source of contamination in the water system.

E. coli and enterococci are typical intestinal inhabitants in animals and humans. Both are considered indicator germs, i.e., signs of fecal contamination through which, in principle, true pathogens could also be spread. Therefore, E. coli and enterococci must not be detectable in drinking water.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a typical "wet or puddle germ" found wherever there is moisture and traces of organic matter: Flower vases, sinks, showers, toilets, whirlpool tubs, as well as wet washcloths or contaminated contact lens fluids. The germs are also found in some foods and sometimes in tap water. The bacterial family of pseudomonads is one of the most undemanding bacteria around. They are naturally insensitive to some antibiotics, which is why they also appear as infectious agents in hospital patients after repeated antibiotic administration . With the amendment to the Drinking Water Ordinance 2017, a guideline value of 0 CFU/100ml applies to Pseudomonas in the tap network.

A drinking water analysis offers a possibility to detect the contamination and to act accordingly.

Our experts are also available for expert advice. They explain the results of the expert opinions of the drinking water examinations and point out measures that have to be taken if the water is not marketable. Drinking water examinations function by means of so-called step controls (source, elevated tank, individual lines of the pipelines). In this way, the causes of contamination can usually be found quickly.

 

To our water examinations

Aktualisiert: 02.03.2022

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