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Is it legal in the EU to catch rainwater for drinking purposes?

 
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I am just getting ready for building an off-grid house in Denmark and from what I could find it seems currently illegal to catch rainwater for drinking purposes. And in general all that I could find within the EU it seems to be discouraged. I know there are some groups here in Denmark working to make it legal / easier to use rainwater for drinking purposes. Does anyone here know of any case in other places in the EU? Or how the laws are in other european countries?

To me this seems very bizarre and I can not understand how this is not breaking some basic human rights on personal freedom, that I can not just choose myself where I get my own drinking water from and that I do not want to be connected to the watergrid (unless one pays for an expensive drilling, if one has a big enough land for it). It is not like I am hurting anyone else with this. Apart from the fact that rainwater can be filtered to be perfectly safe.
 
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You are probably required to filter it and may need some kind of permit that confirms that you have some kind of government regulated filter installed on your catchment system.
 
pollinator
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My signature has a link here all about the methods of catching rainwater.
As for the law, I would use a small system to experiment with and ignore the situation.
At one stage there was a lot of acid rain caused by pollution in the air and that may be the issue.
Otherwise I would go straight to the water companies and bring the subject up. I would not ask if its legal I would ask about how to do it.
I have a friend in Finland, a rural part I will ask them.
From Rainwater harvesting in Germany
Germany’s move towards rainwater harvesting began as a small initiative driven by environmentally conscious groups. As the trend gained popularity, rainwater harvesting systems were introduced to public buildings,
private households and industry premises. The aim of these programs is to reduce potable water consumption by replacing potable water with rainwater in suitable applications, such as toilets.
Alongside increasing demand for rainwater collection systems, supply has also increased; by 1999 there were over 100 commercial manufacturers of stormwater collection systems.
In addition, in the period between 1989 and 1999, German business Mall-Beton GmbH, claimed to have installed over 100,000 rainwater pre-fabricated storage tanks in Germany (Herrmann, 2000).
Water from these tanks is used in applications such as schools and car washing businesses. The German government continues to offer financial incentives for those who disconnect stormwater from
sewer discharge, and in the past has provided subsidies to promote installation of rainwater harvesting systems.
 
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There are plenty of houses in Denmark with their own wells and "town" water is untreated so it doesn't have the same issues as most other countries. If the land you buy/have has an old well you can apply to have it re-licensed fairly easily.

It is encouraged to collect rainwater to run the toilet and the washing machine. and water NOT for sale vegetables (for sale vegetables must use drinking quality water) But it is indeed illegal here to use rain water for drinking no matter what you do with it.

I found some other lovely rules, you will have to have a steel metal or plastic roof if you want to collect water even if it's just for use for the garden/toilet etc moss, grass and thatch are all specifically discounted. You will need a permit from the commune to use it in a toilet (if you are in a newbuild) you will need to inform the water authority and you have to use a registered plumber to install the system.


(EDITED as I found that it is actually illegal)


 
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It is encouraged to collect rainwater to run the toilet and the washing machine. and water NOT for sale vegetables (for sale vegetables must use drinking quality water) But it is indeed illegal here to use rain water for drinking no matter what you do with it.  



It must be an EU law, as it happens to be the same here in France.  However, we are fairly remote and have no intentions to abide by this silly law (we do not sell vegetables).  I am not encouraging people to break the law, I am just saying this is what we intend to do.
 
Markus Padourek
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Skandi Rogers wrote:There are plenty of houses in Denmark with their own wells and "town" water is untreated so it doesn't have the same issues as most other countries. If the land you buy/have has an old well you can apply to have it re-licensed fairly easily.

It is encouraged to collect rainwater to run the toilet and the washing machine. and water NOT for sale vegetables (for sale vegetables must use drinking quality water) But it is indeed illegal here to use rain water for drinking no matter what you do with it.

I found some other lovely rules, you will have to have a steel metal or plastic roof if you want to collect water even if it's just for use for the garden/toilet etc moss, grass and thatch are all specifically discounted. You will need a permit from the commune to use it in a toilet (if you are in a newbuild) you will need to inform the water authority and you have to use a registered plumber to install the system.


(EDITED as I found that it is actually illegal)




Thanks for the information, that is very interesting. Do you have some links to the requirements that it needs to be a steel or plastic roof and that it needs to be installed by a registered plumber? We certainly do not want a plastic roof, a metal roof I could probably be ok with, even though I would prefer some other options. There is actually one house in denmark that got dispensation for using rainwater as drinking water and that is the off grid house at brenderup højskole (https://offgridbrenderuphojskole.com/) - but yeah they still have normal drinking water in the main building, and even though it is accepted as a building for someone to live in, it is currently just used as a education center, so there might be that difference.

I actually managed yesterday to talk to one of the people behind Grobund Brenderup and they are working together with Grobund Ebletoft to also get dispensation for it. Will be interesting to see how far they will get. They also sent me this paragraph:

”Jf. § 5 i Drikkevandsbekendtgørelsen er det lovligt at opsamle regnvand fra
tage til brug for WC-skyl og tøjvask i maskine. Anlæg til opsamling af regnvand
skal være udført i overensstemmelse med gældende Rørcenteranvisning udar-
bejdet af Teknologisk Institut. Kommunalbestyrelsen kan efter drøftelse med
Styrelsen for Patientsikkerhed træffe afgørelse om, at brug af regnvand skal op-
høre, hvis det er nødvendigt for at sikre vandkvaliteten ved bygningens tapha-
ner. Opsamlet regnvand er ikke godkendt til anvendelse som drikkevand.
Drikkevand indvindes fra grundvandet og undtagelsesvist fra overfladevand,
dog ikke fra vand i drænledninger. En ejendom kan ansøge kommunen om lov
til etablering af privat drikkevandsboring. Hvis en ejendom forsynes af en pri-
vat boring, vil den ansvarlige for vandforsyningsanlægget blive anset som en
ikke-almene vandforsyning, som jf. § 6 i Drikkevandsbekendtgørelsen skal kon-
trollere drikkevandet ved en forenklet kontrol.”

Here it only sounds to me like it has to follow these guidelines, but it does not state who has to build it. Also interesting is "Drikkevand indvindes fra grundvandet og undtagelsesvist fra overfladevand...", so I wonder if rainwater is or can be classified as surface water and one can get that way dispensation for using it as drinking water.
 
Skandi Rogers
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Ved opsamling af regnvand fra tage afhænger mængden af, hvor stort et tagareal, du har, og hvilken hældning taget har. Tage af følgende materialer er ikke egnede til regnvandsopsamling:

   Tage med ny bitumenbelægning (tagpap)
   Græs-, mos- og stråtage
   Kobbertage og kobbertagrender
   Asbestholdige tage
   Tage som er særlig udsat for forurening med fugleekskrementer



I mean no one wants to get water from tar paper or copper anyway.

Det er kun regnvand opsamlet fra tage, der må anvendes til toiletskyl og tøjvask i ejen-dommen. Det er med den nuværende lovgivning ikke tilladt at opsamle vand fra andre flader som altaner, terrasser eller parkeringspladser til wc-skyl og tøjvask.

Alt arbejde på drikkevandsinstallationerne skal udføres af en autoriseret VVS-installatør, og alt arbejde på afløbsinstallationer skal udføres af en autoriseret kloakmester.



So only roofs and only qualified vvs. It's a bit confusing that they call it drikkevand even though it says you cannot drink it, but hey ho. It's even stated that the rules on collecting rainwater vary by commune and in some communes you are not even allowed a rain barrel. I have not checked in mine and have no intention of checking.

This lot is here https://mst.dk/natur-vand/vand-i-hverdagen/genbrug-af-vand/regnvand-og-overfladevand/

And it's under "Genbrug af vand" The rules are slightly different for new builds and existing houses.
 
John C Daley
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What is this  

only qualified vvs

mean please?
Can you translate the gist of the Danish please?
 
Skandi Rogers
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John C Daley wrote:What is this  

only qualified vvs

mean please?
Can you translate the gist of the Danish please?



sorry VVS is a plumber

The first text box says that you may not collect water from roofs with
new tar paper
grass, moss or thatch
copper roofs or gutters
asbestos roofs
roofs that are especially likely to have bird droppings on them.

The second box states; you can only collect water from a roof, under the current laws, it is not legal to collect water from balconies, terraces or parking places and use it in the toilet or washing machine. Then it says that all "drinking" water installations shall be done by a qualified plumber and all drains shall be done by a qualified sewage person (not always the same person)
 
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Here in the Netherlands it isn't encouraged, but anyway it is not illegal. In several 'ecovillages', tiny-house-projects, a.a. there are people who use rainwater (also for drinking). There are articles written about them and on youtube it's shown how they live.
 
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In Croatia there are many islands without freshwater sources and without public water system. There people are collecting and using rainwoter for drinking for generations - it's the only water available. New houses that are built today also have those concrete tanks for rainwater conected to the house plumbing system, and they get a construction permit without any problem.
So while I'm not sure what is actually written in the law, I know it is not strictly forbidden.  
 
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The government has the primary lien and ownership of your property, and they want to make sure it is easy to resell to other non-permie folks
If the bank is involved they now have a secondary lien/ownership of your property and they want to make sure that it is easy to resell.
You would now come 3rd in line in ownership of said property.
And if you have house insurance they might have other stipulation.

There is also the fact that they would like you to have abundant water on-site incase of a small fire/etc.

As long as they get their official water supply for the most part they dont care if you add or remove silver or potassium or drink rainwater. And you can pretty much do anything to yourself. Its possible that if you have underage humans (kids), that the government invest in so that they can pay taxes later, they will want you to provide said child with government approved water, and if not you could be liable.

I know that in USA where drinking well water is legal, in the city one isn't allow to install a well, and ditto for a septic system.

And if you are connected to a gov/city sewer system and pump rainwater down into it. If your water and sewer bill is combine, they will say that because they didn't track and charge you for the rainwater that you pumped down their sewer system, then you owe them money.
 
John C Daley
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What do you mean S Benji about rainwater and sewerage?
And the bit about thye bill is not clear either.

In Australia if you put rainwater down a sewer it floods and you are fined a lot oif money to discourage you doing iut again.
Thry use smoke to see who is dumping rainwater into the sewers!
 
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