Water constituents of swiss tap water
Tap water is one of the most controlled foodstuffs in Switzerland. Nevertheless, it repeatedly falls into disrepute. Just a while ago, the contamination of Swiss groundwater with a pesticide of concern - chlorothalonil - made the headlines. However, this was not due to a lack of water control.
The Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO) had just classified the degradation products of the fungicide as "probably carcinogenic". That is why water was not previously tested for this substance. Of course, something like this can also happen with other water ingredients. In general, however, it can be assumed that you can drink tap water in Switzerland without hesitation.
What are the regulations on the ingredients of tap water in Switzerland?
Drinking water from the tap is a natural product whose ingredients depend to a large extent on the raw water. Therefore, in regions where the raw water for drinking water treatment comes from, special attention is paid to groundwater and water protection. From a purely legal point of view, the regulations on water quality are national. However, Switzerland follows the guidelines of the EU in this regard.
Articles 97 and 118 of the Federal Constitution describe the protection of health and consumers. The legal requirements for drinking water are clearly defined in the Foodstuffs Act. The cantonal water supplies must have a quality assurance system that guarantees compliance with the following ordinances:
Tap water minerals: what should be in it
Almost everyone knows that tap water contains minerals. They belong to the desirable water ingredients. If you drink tap water regularly, you supply your organism with vital minerals and trace elements. The following natural minerals are contained in tap water:
Tap water pollutants: What can be in it?
Depending on the region and season, tap water may contain various trace substances. These include water constituents such as metals, germs, nitrate, drug residues, pesticides or microplastics. Above a certain concentration, trace substances can become dangerous for your organism. It is normal that tap water contains pollutants. Even brand-name water contains trace substances. However, permanent controls ensure that the concentration of pollutants is so low that your health will not be harmed even after a lifetime of consumption. This is why there are limits for tap water that must be strictly adhered to.
Tap water limits in Switzerland
How is the quality of tap water ensured?
Over 2,500 water suppliers provide drinking water to individual households in Switzerland. Each of them has an elaborate quality assurance system with modern analytical instruments. Today's measuring methods are so accurate that a lump of sugar dissolved in Lake Zurich can be detected. In contrast to the past, many more substances are detected in the water. This also leads to the detection of new - and old - trace substances.
✪ However, this does not mean that the quality of the tap water is getting worse. The possibility of detecting groundwater contamination already in the nanogram range results in more effective strategies for improving drinking water quality. Of course, it cannot be ruled out that occasional mishaps will occur - for example, during floods or algal blooms. But normally, the population is then informed by the water supplier.
If you want to be on the safe side about the quality of your tap water, you can have a water analysis carried out for any pollutants that may be present. You also have the option of having your drinking water tested for mineral content. This way, you can drink your local tap water all year round and also help the environment.