You are here:  Water Pleasure  »  Technology  »  Drinking Water Ordinance

Drinking Water Ordinance

Information on the latest Drinking Water Ordinance

What has changed since November 1st 2011?

The first ordinance for altering the Drinking Water Ordinance from May 3rd 2011 has applied since November 1st 2011. Probably the most important innovation concerns the legionella test in drinking water heating plants.

Who is affected by the alteration of the Drinking Water Ordinance?

"The new regulations apply to installations in which there is a large-scale plant for heating drinking water provided that drinking water is released from this as part of a public or commercial activity."

This is the official statement in a press release of the German Federal Ministry of Health. And this is what it means:

  • As a large-scale plant for heating drinking water, the following apply according to the technical rule W 551 of the DVGW:

    • Plants with a hot water storage unit (also called a boiler or a drinking water heater) and a content of more than 400 liters
    • Plants with circulatory drinking water heaters (also called circulatory heaters) and more than 3 liters in each pipe between the drinking water heater and the extraction point (e.g. shower)

  • As a drinking water release as part of an public activity, shower rooms in nurseries and schools apply, for example.
  • As a drinking water release as part of a commercial activity, bathrooms in apartment houses and shower devices in fitness studios apply, for example.

Owner-occupied properties, detached houses and semi-detached houses are not affected.

What exactly is new in the Drinking Water Ordinance in relation to legionella?

Large-scale plants for heating drinking water are subject to

  • An obligation to notify: The owner or operator of a large-scale plant for heating drinking water must report the existence of this plant to the relevant local health authority (where is the plant, who is the responsible owner etc.)
  • An obligation to inspect: The owner of a large-scale plant for heating drinking water must have the systemic inspection (e.g. in three different points of an apartment building) carried out for a potential legionella contamination and must report the inspection results to the relevant local health authority once a year

What's new here is that not only public buildings such as nurseries, schools or hospitals are now affected, but so too are apartment houses and commercial facilities.

A technical intervention value of 100 colony-forming units (CFU) per 100 milliliters of drinking water has been introduced for legionella.

What does the alteration to the Drinking Water Ordinance mean in practice?

Especially for owners, the alteration of the Drinking Water Ordinance involves cost-intensive innovations in relation to the legionella inspections. Neglecting to inspect or report to the local health authority may even result in legal consequences.

You can find out here what obligations you now have to meet as a landlord ...

What measures you can take to prevent legionella formation ...

You can obtain legally binding statements from your relevant local health authority.