Substances relevant for drinking water

PMT/vPvM substances: Identification and Regulation under REACH

Word clouds on REACH and PMT substances (Image: Michael Neumann/UBA)

The German Environment Agency and DVGW-Technologiezentrum Wasser (German Water Centre) have been highly active in determining the drinking water relevance of anthropogenic chemicals based on their intrinsic substance properties or from the data submitted for the substance registration. It is therefore a good idea to join forces for preventative resource protection!

For the preventative protection of the environment and human health, the minimising rule of the German Drinking Water Ordinance states that chemicals, which may end up in raw water for drinking water production, should not be discharged to surface water and groundwater and that their concentrations in the water bodies must be kept as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA principle). Nevertheless, there are anthropogenic substances that can be detected in treated drinking water. Usually these substances belong to the group of the so-called PMT/vPvM-compounds (very persistent, mobile substances that may or may not bear a potential hazard).

The aim of this project was to identify substances that are relevant to drinking water and promote the hazard-based management under REACH. Regulatory management option analysis (RMOA) have been established and findings gathered on the occurrence of anthropogenic substances in raw and drinking water. Additionally, water samples have been analysed for selected persistent and mobile substances. The objective was to combine the results and findings to propose approx. 10 substances to the Federal Environment Agency for regulation under REACH.


Nödler, K.; Scheurer, M.: Substances from Multiple Sources (SMS): The Presence of Multiple Primary and Secondary Sources of Persistent and Mobile Organic Contaminants is an Upcoming Challenge for the Drinking Water Sector and Regulatory Frameworks. Environmental Science & Technology 53 (19), 11061-11062 (2019)

Neuwald, I. J.; Hübner, D.; Wiegand, H. L.; Valkov, V.; Borchers, U.; Nödler, K.; Scheurer, M.; Hale, S. E.; Arp, H. P. H.; Zahn, D.: Occurrence, Distribution, and Environmental Behavior of Persistent, Mobile, and Toxic (PMT) and Very Persistent and Very Mobile (vPvM) Substances in the Sources of German Drinking Water. Environmental Science & Technology 56, 10857–10867 (2022)

Neuwald, I. J.; Hübner, D.; Wiegand, H. L.; Valkov, V.; Borchers, U.; Nödler, K.; Scheurer, M.; Hale, S. E.; Arp, H. P. H.; Zahn, D.: Ultra-Short-Chain PFASs in the Sources of German Drinking Water: Prevalent, Overlooked, Difficult to Remove, and Unregulated. Environmental Science & Technology 56, 6380-6390 (2022) DOI: