How do industries pollute our water resources

Save drinking water and keep it clean

In Germany, everyone uses an average of just under 121 liters of water a day. Only four percent of the precious drinking water is used for cooking or drinking. Most of it flows through taps and washing machines or flushes the toilet.

Cleaning agents and detergents, the chemical finishing of textiles and medicines that we swallow and excrete pollute the water, as do agriculture and industry. In order to treat so-called raw water as drinking water, more and more complex processes are necessary - and that costs money.

And another problem is becoming more and more urgent: the larger the asphalted areas, the more rainwater is channeled into the rivers and leads to increased flooding. Water that should actually seep away so that new groundwater can form.

Protecting water - but how?

In the long run, clean water becomes more and more expensive, because sewage treatment plants are not magicians. Not every substance that thoughtlessly ends up in the wastewater can be filtered out. It is important that pollutants do not end up in the water in the first place. So what contribution can each individual make to water protection?

  • Leftovers, oils, fats, hygiene articles or paint residues do not belong in the toilet, but in the residual or even hazardous waste. Toilet fragrance stones also pollute the water and cause unnecessary costs.

  • Detergents and cleaning agents Use sparingly and according to the hardness of your drinking water. Instead of expensive special agents, all-purpose cleaners also do a good job. Citric acid is sufficient for descaling. Particularly aggressive or disinfecting cleaning agents are superfluous in the household. They pollute the wastewater unnecessarily and can easily trigger allergies. Phosphate-free dishwasher cleaners and detergents are also already on the market. Additional softeners and fabric softeners are not required. Detergents should always be dosed according to the degree of soiling of the laundry or dishes. Tabs are therefore often overdosed.

  • Cleaning water belongs in the toilet and not in the street drain. Because often the gullies are only connected to the rainwater sewer system, so that the water from there ends up untreated in streams and rivers.

  • Old medicines must never be disposed of via the toilet or sink. Some active substances cannot be broken down in the sewage treatment plants. Many pharmacies accept used medicines and dispose of them properly. However, there is no obligation for pharmacies to take back old medication. Many municipalities offer drug acceptance through recycling centers or mobile pollutant collection points. In most cases, however, medication can be disposed of in the residual waste bin.

  • In the garden you should be on chemical pesticides dispense. It is forbidden to fight weeds on paved paths and areas around the house. A scratch or burning the plants with flame burners helps here.

  • Too much Commercial fertilizer in the garden can damage the groundwater. A good fertilizer is compost. Its nutrients are only gradually released to the plants.

  • A Oil change in the car should only be done in the workshop. Washing cars on the side of the road has also long been taboo. Because the oily, sooty and possibly heavy metal-containing dirt endangers the soil and groundwater.

  • Road salt harms plants and animal paws. It is better. Use sand, limestone, quartzite or grit with the Blue Angel eco-label.

  • Chemical toilets, for example in caravans, are a real problem for sewage treatment plants, as many sanitary additives can seriously disrupt the cleaning process. An alternative are sanitary fluids with the Blue Angel eco-label. On short trips, it is better to empty the waste water tank more often and do without additives.
    Attention: Chemical toilets may only be emptied at specially marked drainage devices!

Save water - but how?

How much water actually flows through your pipe every day? The answer is easy to find, for example by looking at your own water bill. In many apartment buildings, however, water consumption is allocated across the board to the number of tenants. A process that does not encourage saving water. Because looking at the meter has a psychological effect: In these cases, consumption often falls by up to 30 percent - and that without additional measures!
Tip: With 70 to 100 liters per person and day, you are one of the thrifty consumers. However, anyone who chases more than 130 liters through the pipe every day is using too much water.

With a few tricks and twists, you can quickly put an end to water waste in the household. Here are some examples:

Flow limiter: An adapter in the shower hose or on the tap ensures that less water flows. In combination with so-called aerators, also known as aerators, you replace water with air and thus make it fuller. Price: approx. 5 euros

Single lever mixer: In contrast to the conventional two taps, the temperature can be regulated more quickly with the one-hand lever. When buying, look out for one-hand levers that have cold water flowing in the middle position. Alternatively, the lever should always be turned to the right, i.e. to cold. This is how you save water and energy! Cost: from around 30 euros

Economy flush: Every day we chase buckets of drinking water through the toilet. - A water-saving toilet cistern provides the same performance with less water. Old cisterns can also be upgraded with water stop buttons. Price: around 5 to 15 euros. In addition: A dripping tap produces around 10 liters of water within 24 hours. Then the tap seal needs to be replaced. But there are also ways to make substantial savings that don't cost the consumer a cent.

Our tips

  • Showering instead of bathing: That alone saves an average of 100 liters of water each time. Daily showering is not necessary for hygienic reasons and it also puts a strain on the skin. Showering every other day is sufficient and saves a lot of money over the year.
  • to make the laundry: Only start full machines, do without pre-wash and pay attention to low consumption values ​​when buying a new one - i.e. no more than 10-12 liters per kilo of laundry.
  • Lawn sprinkling: This is only necessary in extreme drought. It should only be done in the morning or evening to reduce evaporation. If you set up a rain barrel, you also have free irrigation water at hand!
  • Rainwater: Those who largely allow seepage on their property can even be exempted from the charges for rainwater. The responsible administration in your city can provide information.
  • Use of rainwater and gray water: Gray water is the part of domestic wastewater that is created by bathing, showering or washing. Purified by special gray water systems, it is suitable, for example, for flushing toilets, washing machines or watering the garden. Water from rainwater cisterns can also be used for these purposes. Greywater extraction systems require space, a storage system and their own pipe network.