Firefighting water systems that supply hydrants in and on the building with firefighting water absolutely need a separation system between drinking water and firefighting water. In today's blog article, we address the most frequently asked questions on the topic of separating drinking water and extinguishing water.
Why must drinking water and fire-fighting water be separated?
Water is a precious food. But it is also an efficient extinguishing agent. To ensure that the fire brigade has enough extinguishing water available on site in the event of a fire, it often draws water from the drinking water network. However, extinguishing water systems are rarely in use and the water stagnates in the extinguishing water pipes. This stagnation of the water can cause pathogenic bacteria such as legionella, which can lead to legionnaires' disease (life-threatening pneumonia). Therefore, it is important that the water that has left the drinking water network and thus becomes extinguishing water must under no circumstances flow back into the drinking water network. A drinking water separation station is the method of choice.
Which law prescribes the separation of drinking water and fire fighting water?
The legislature has issued extensive requirements so that drinking water remains clean and our health is protected. The most important standard is the Drinking Water Ordinance. It has an impact on fire protection and stipulates the separation of drinking and extinguishing water. DIN EN 1717 (2) also regulates the separation. The separation prevents the contaminated extinguishing water from flowing back into the drinking water network. If the legal requirements are violated, there is a risk of a fine of up to € 25,000 or even criminal prosecution.
How is the lack of separation of drinking and fire-fighting water noticed?
Often the lack of separation is pointed out by:
- Inspection by an expert and issuance of a deficiency certificate with a deadline for (re)establishing hygienic separation.
- Notice by the fire protection company that carries out the maintenance of your extinguishing water system.
- Test of your drinking water and determination of contamination caused by the missing drinking water separation station.
Is there a grandfathering for older extinguishing water systems?
No, even old systems must have an effective extinguishing water transfer point, there is no protection of existing. A drinking water separation station must be retrofitted.
How does an extinguishing water transfer point work?
Basically, there are two types of extinguishing water transfer points:
- Indirect connection: is a hydraulic separation with a free outlet of the water. The indirect connection is used in wet systems, here the supply pipes are constantly filled with water like the riser pipe, this is often the case with a wall hydrant.
- Direct connection: has a direct connection between the drinking water network and the filling and emptying station for the extinguishing system. The direct connection is used in wet-dry systems with a filling and emptying station and supplies the extinguishing water to wall hydrants as well as to underground and surface hydrants if required.
What happens if such a separation station has to be retrofitted?
We would be happy to support you in such a case. First, we would carry out an on-site assessment at your premises in order to advise you holistically. During the planning phase, we take into account the existing deficiency certificate, legal foundations, regulations and guidelines. Subsequently, the separation can either be retrofitted or a new construction of the existing fire water supply system is necessary. We install the separation system and prepare everything for a successful acceptance by an expert. Afterwards, the extinguishing system must be maintained regularly (at least once a year) by a competent person. We will gladly take care of this for you as well.