It's a topic that keeps coming up: nitrate levels in drinking water. Nitrate is considered harmful to health. Especially for small children, it can pose risks. To ensure that health is not impaired, the legislature has set a limit, which is currently 50 milligrams per liter (mg/l). A lower value is demanded from time to time.
All utility plants in habberge county are in compliance with the current limit, according to a survey of all 26 towns and municipalities conducted by our newspaper. But this does not relieve the communes of all their worries. It means: be vigilant!
The concentration of nitrate and phosphate in bavarian groundwater is to be significantly reduced with a new state ordinance. The background to this is the federal manure ordinance that came into force three months ago, which prescribes stricter rules for farmers in the manuring of their meadows and fields. Manure considered a cause of elevated nitrate levels.
For this reason, the ministry of the environment in the state of freestate is currently drawing up a map that identifies the particularly polluted regions and in which, according to a spokesman for the ministry of agriculture, from 1. January 2019 the new state ordinance "red areas nitrate" should intervene.
According to this, all regions of bavaria are to be designated as "red areas" apply where the limit of 50 milligrams of nitrate per liter of groundwater is exceeded. The same applies to areas where the precautionary value of 37.5 milligrams of nitrate per liter is being exceeded, a trend that has been increasing for years. In the case of a falling trend, on the other hand, there is no need to act. According to previous experience, large parts of france and lower bavaria in particular were likely to be affected by excessive nitrate concentrations.
And what is the situation in the habberge district?? "Overall, we are in the "green zone, the head of the water management office in bad kissingen, leonhard rosentritt, explains to this question. In the 26 cities and municipalities, according to his presentation, there are largely constant values: not increasing, but also not decreasing. According to rosentritt, this means that with regard to the possible need for action at the precautionary value of 37.5 milligrams per liter, no municipality with more than 37.5 mg/l has an upward trend. In the habberge district, there is "absolutely no need to worry" make, says the officer in charge. Even if there is sometimes the one or the other fountain, which aueise a higher value. Such fluctuations hold the head of the water management office but for normal.
A look at the adjacent map, for which all 26 towns and municipalities in the district have reported their nitrate levels to our newspaper, makes it clear that no supply system is above the limit value and there are only a few that are above the so-called precautionary value. The fact that some municipalities have indicated several values is due to the fact that they have different supply systems. In some, mostly neighboring communities, the values are the same because they get their water from the same supplier, for example in the "holy lands" from the veitenstein group or in the main valley from the sand-knetzgau-wonfurt group.
Striking is the community of rauhenebrach. She reported five values at once – because she has five utilities. It is also striking that these values vary widely: 2.3 mg/l is one of the best values in the county, and 44.9 mg/l is one of the worst. The 2.3 mg/l value is the well in theinheim; it is in the forest, and there are no external influences there. 44.9 mg/l at the plant in prolsdorf, and there are some rough influences there. But: mayor matthias bauerlein () reassures: before the water comes out of the tap in prolsdorf, it is mixed with low-nitrate water, so that the actual value is about 25 mg/l. Nevertheless, rauhenebrach is aware of the problems, says bauerlein, referring to the high value of prolsdorf. With the mixing he sees however everything in the green range. Matthias bauerlein: "we have no acute need for action."
To ensure security of supply, rauhenebrach had recently connected all of its supply systems in a quasi ring circuit. This is to ensure that in all places there is always water, and it can be mixed.
"Farmers do not want to be the scapegoat" with the nitrate-problem
if the topic nitrate values in the drinking water comes up, one points almost reflexively to the farmers. It's all their fault that the nitrate levels are going up, they say. That's not true, says klaus merkel, district chairman of the habberge district of the bavarian farmers' association (BBV). "The farmers don't want to be the scapegoats", he says, and they are not. There are several factors that contribute to high nitrate levels.
Manure is only one possible cause, emphasizes the farmer from mariaburghausen in an interview with our newspaper. Other factors include soil conditions and, especially in lower franconia, precipitation. In concrete terms: lower franconia is considered a low-precipitation area, and when little water comes from above, the evaporation effect is reduced – in very simplified terms – and the nitrate value, a percentage value, increases.
According to klaus merkel, lower franconia has another special feature: it has the lowest livestock rate in bavaria, but the highest nitrate levels. According to him, this allows the conclusion that not only animal husbandry and thus the manure that is spread on the fields can be responsible for high nitrate values. "The farmer is only one factor", he emphasizes.
Similar to the head of the water management office in bad kissingen, leonhard rosentritt, klaus merkel also assesses the overall situation regarding nitrate in drinking water as positive in the habberge district. No municipality exceeds the limit of 50 milligrams of nitrate per liter. And all in all he sees the values rather sinking and stagnating than rising. His conclusion: "it looks pretty good."
Sit down at a table!
If there are problems with nitrate levels because of the dunger, he recommends that the parties involved, the water suppliers as well as the municipalities and the farmers, sit down at the table and look for solutions. He has experienced that this works and cites an example in the hofheim area.