Every one of us daily produces wastewater, no matter, whether we use water for cooking, cleaning, washing clothes, in toilets or for watering gardens. All the water we use flows into the sewer – and is more or less polluted. In 2000, households and small businesses in the Rhine catchment consumed about 2.6 billion m³ drinking water. On average, this corresponds to about 130 l per inhabitant per day. During the past years, water consumption has further fallen.
96 per cent of the wastewater from industry, trade and settlements in the watershed of the Rhine are today treated in wastewater treatment plants. During the past years, the nutrient and pollutant charge of wastewater from industry and settlements was distinctly reduced. The result is that the water quality of the Rhine and of many of its tributaries has distinctly improved.
However, some micropollutants such as pharmaceuticals (and their derivatives), plant protection agents, hormone-active agents from the wastewater of settlements and other sources continue to pose a problem.