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Alarm rising in Denmark over plastic piping

Environment Daily 1395,

Contamination of drinking water via plastic piping, increasingly recognised as a potentially serious problem in Denmark, is more widespread than previously thought, Danske Kommuner, the local authorities' magazine, reports.

Analysis of data collected from 197 of Denmark's 271 local authorities by the environmental protection agency (EPA) disclosed 67 cases of pollution by a range of chemicals including benzene, oil and solvents that had leached through the pipes, Danske Kommuner says. The number was twice as many as expected.

In 34 cases, the pipes had been laid at or near inappropriate sites, such as petrol stations, in breach of regulations. In the other 33 instances, often involving private property, contamination was "unforeseen". Piping made of both soft plastics and harder types such as PVC was involved.

Danske Kommuner also reports on work carried out at the Technical university of Denmark (DTU) suggesting that "impurities" in the pipes themselves are an additional source of pollution. Recent detection of phenols attributed to plastic piping is "the tip of the iceberg", the magazine says.

The DTU scientists reckon they have identified barely 10% of the compounds that are probably present. Plastic piping delivers about half of Denmark's drinking water.

Follow-up: Danske Kommuner, tel: +45 33 70 30 18

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