Groundwater qualities are determined by diverse natural and human influences. Negative effects on groundwater quality arising from impurities and pollution of groundwater result from
- small business and industrial production processes, including storage and disposal of waste materials (waste disposal sites, old contaminated sites),
- contamination of soils by accidents and improper storage of water-endangering materials,
- agricultural and forestry (input of nutrients and pesticides) and
- operation of sewage farms.
Water economy laws require the protection not only of groundwater within defined drinking water protection zones, but the protection of all groundwater resources everywhere from any preventable damage, for reasons of environmental precaution. Geological conditions in Berlin create a high degree of pollution risk primarily for drinking water taken from the first level of groundwater. The high permeability of covering layers results in the relatively unhindered transport and impact of pollutants into groundwater in a relatively short period of time. An urban metropolitan area like Berlin requires long-term securing of drinking water supplies through groundwater protection measures.