Sewage sludge polluted with high concentrations of PFC (perfluorated organic compounds) was spread as fertiliser on a cornfield in Brilon, Germany. During rainfall PFC are flushed out of the soil and flow into the Möhne and Ruhr River, where drinking water is extracted. PFC in elevated concentrations has been detected in the drinking water in this area. PFCs, used as industrial coating materials, are found ubiquitously, and in high concentrations are believed to be carcinogenic. The drinking-water problem has been mitigated by decontamination of the primary polluted field, a systematic and specific reservoir operation, and more extensive purification of drinking water.

In this region persons predominantly concerned are the population being supplied with drinking-water and some parts of the tourism industry in the Möhne reservoir area.

People in this area ask for a drinking water that is free from dangerous trace elements and residues of pharmaceuticals. Water management actors are called upon to realise consumers' wishes, to implement what is economically and technically possible and to show consumers the possibilities and the limits of drinking-water supply.

This content is only available as a PDF.