The protection of groundwater reserves
De Watergroep undertakes all reasonable efforts to protect the groundwater reserves both quantitatively and qualitatively. However, you too can help, for example, by introducing fewer contaminants into the environment. In doing so, fewer chemicals leach out into the groundwater and surface water. We would like to share the following tips with you.
Work safely with mineral fuels and oils
- Have your fuel tanks regularly checked for leaks. Outdoor tanks can contaminate the water through infiltration.
- Collect used oils and take them to a container park, or have them collected selectively.
Use detergents and cleaning products as sparingly as possible
- Do not use more detergents than needed.
- Clean your floors using biodegradable products.
- Go easy on the bleach for cleaning your pavement. Bleach produces unwanted leachable chlorine compounds in the soil.
Collect harmful solvents
- Dangerous solvents are often used to clean mechanical tools, paint brushes, etc. Use them as sparingly as possible or switch to environmentally friendly products (e.g. extract of orange peels). If you do have any solvents, collect and take them to the container park.
Use medicines and cosmetics sensibly
- Avoid excessive use of these products: residual products end up in the waste water through natural secretion and washing.
- Do not flush expired medicines, but return them to the pharmacy.
Control vermin in an environmentally friendly manner
- There exist many natural combinations of crops to keep vermin at bay: marigolds, for example, keep nematodes and cabbage fly maggots away from cabbages and protect cucumbers.
- There are also natural sprays, which may be effective for certain insects; extracts from nettles, tobacco, and garlic may also be useful in some cases. For this purpose refer to specialist literature on biological gardening.
Apply sensible garden fertilisation
- Compost your own kitchen waste. There are various commercially available systems. This compost is a good fertiliser.
- Use chemical fertilisers only as additives.
- Make sure to avoid over-fertilisation. Fertilisers are often applied in larger quantities than can be absorbed by the plants. Excess fertilisers leach out, thereby contaminating the groundwater and surface water.
Switch to environmentally friendly weed control
- Do not use chemicals to keep beds and borders weed-free. Cover the soil with a 5 to 8 cm layer of pine needles, bark, sawdust, etc. Any weed that may still be present can then easily be pulled out.
- Spread grass clippings between vegetables, flowers and plants. This prevents weed growth, keeps the soil moist, and serves as an ideal green fertiliser.
Checks to monitor the quality of the drinking water
The central laboratory of De Watergroep carefully monitors the quality of the tap water. It has the necessary qualifications for this work, such as a VLAREL recognition (Flemish Regulation on environmental recognitions) granted by the Flemish authorities and an accreditation granted by federal inspection body BELAC (the Belgian accreditation body). The enables the laboratory to perform analyses in full independence and objectivity, using state-of-the-art and highly sensitive measuring equipment.
The drinking water checks are not confined to microbiological and chemical analyses of samples randomly collected from kitchen water taps at customers' premises, but also include regular checks of the drinking water at the various water production centres, water towers and reservoirs.
The results of these analyses are reported to the Operational Water Management Department of the Flanders Environment Agency (VMM). Only in very exceptional cases will a drinking water sample not conform to legal standards and additional measures will have to be taken. Such situations occur very rarely in time and space.
In addition, the proper functioning of the water treatment processes is monitored very carefully and ad hoc samples are taken wherever work is carried out on the pipeline network. The results of these analyses are reported to the technical production and distribution service departments of the provincial offices, which can then make adjustments as necessary.