How stricter standards require innovation for hoses used in drinking water

Jon Lawson


Dr Kristian Onken discusses how stricter standards require innovative solutions when it comes to hoses used for drinking water

Hoses and hose assemblies are key components of drinking water installations – especially outdoors. However, such hoses may be used only if they fulfil the strict conditions of the Drinking Water Ordinance. In order to protect public health for the long term, the test procedures for drinking water approval are steadily being made tougher. The Aquapal from Continental has passed all tests and is therefore one of the very few hoses that are approved for transporting water for human consumption.

Turn on the tap and drink the fresh water that comes out right away – in Germany, consumers can do that without a second thought. This is the conclusion of the most recent report by the German Federal Ministry of Health (Bundesministerium für Gesundheit – BMG) and the German Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt – UBA) on the quality of “water for human consumption.”

In most other EU countries, people likewise have access to high-quality drinking water according to the European Commission. This is thanks to a number of factors, including the European Drinking Water Directive. It stipulates that drinking water must be free of agents of disease and substances in concentrations harmful to health as well as “wholesome and clean.” The Directive was implemented in German law with the Ordinance on the Quality of Water Intended for Human Consumption (Drinking Water Ordinance – TrinkwV) It covers all long- and short-term drinking water installations, which also includes flexible hoses.

The ordinance stipulates that only hoses that comply with the generally recognised technical codes of practice may be used as drinking water hoses. If hoses without approval are used, it may lead to fines being imposed and/or a company’s operating licence being immediately revoked. The generally recognised technical codes of practice for hoses include the Elastomer Guideline, the KTW Guideline, DVGW W270, DVGW VP549, DVGW W291,
DVGW W543, DIN 2000 and DIN 2001-1+2.

To protect our health from harmful influences that may result from possible water contamination, the test procedures for materials that can be used for drinking water hoses are steadily being made tougher. This is now happening with the warm water test in accordance with DVGW worksheet W270.

All tests passed

The Aquapal from Continental has passed all tests by accredited institutes that are required for drinking water hoses in accordance with the Drinking Water Ordinance – particularly in relation to outdoor use. The hard-wearing hose combines compliance with the strict requirements of the Drinking Water Ordinance with the advantages of a flexible rubber hose. In addition, Aquapal complies with the UK WRAS drinking water regulations, meaning that it qualifies for international use as well.

The high-quality, special plastomer inner lining is free of plasticisers, anti-adhesive, completely odourless, has no effect on taste and complies with the requirements of EC 1935/2004, EC 2023/2006 and10/2011 as well as those of the FDA. Its excellent flexibility within a wide temperature range and its weather- and grease-resistant outer rubber make it the ideal drinking water hose for almost any application, especially as it can even cope with being driven over occasionally.

Progress through experience and materials expertise

The Industrial Fluid Solutions (IFS) business unit of Continental is a leading manufacturer of quality hoses. Thanks to its extensive know-how, the hose manufacturer is a member of national and international standards committees whose activities include developing test specifications and standards for implementing the Drinking Water Ordinance.

The European Commission has proposed that the European Drinking Water Directive be further optimised to make drinking water available to all European citizens and of the highest quality. This is because, according to the Commission, there are 23 million Europeans who are still not connected to the public water supply. The proposal for reform that Brussels recently presented takes into account the latest scientific findings and recommendations of the World Health Organization. Thanks to the close links within Continental, the hose manufacturer can quickly implement such changes in the legal requirements. Moreover, the corporation’s in-house testing and experimentation labs allow it to test newly developed and enhanced products under more or less authentic operating conditions.

Recent Issues