Water: characteristics and treatments
The water in our home comes from a deep aquifer, a sort of underground reservoir that is formed at a depth of around 100 metres underground, when rainwater or water from melting ice meets a layer of impermeable ground. The water from aquifers closest to the surface (40-50 metres below ground), or surface groundwater, is almost never drinkable, but can be used to irrigate fields. The water supplied to our taps is abstracted (i.e. withdrawn) exclusively from the deep aquifers. In some cases, the water we withdraw undergoes water purification treatments since the rest is water from aquifers of excellent chemical and micro-biological quality that we can use directly, without further treatment (unlike the water found in sewerage which must always be treated). We have two types of drinking water treatment plants:
- Activated carbon plants: used to treat water where the groundwater contains organic compounds such as herbicides or other organic micro-pollutants of industrial origin;
- Oxidation and filtration plants: used to treat water in territories where the groundwater naturally contains substances of geological origin, such as iron, manganese, hydrogen sulphide or ammonia.
Water purification is therefore essential to eliminate all the substances or micro-organisms that are not suitable for human consumption and could be harmful if consumed. According to the definition of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (Italian National Health System), drinking water must be "colourless, tasteless, odourless, free from suspended particulate matter (clear and transparent)." In addition, it must not contain "micro-organisms, parasites and chemicals in quantities such as to constitute a potential health hazard." This is why our analysis laboratory monitors the concentration of all chemical and physical parameters established by law:
- macro-minerals (Sulphates, Chlorides, Nitrates, Chlorides, Calcium, Sodium, Magnesium, Potassium);
- heavy metals (Iron, Manganese, Chromium, Arsenic, Lead, Nickel);
- chemical solvents (Chlorinated and Aromatic);
- micro-pollutants (herbicides, pesticides, other synthetic chemicals);
- microbiological (Total Coliforms, Escherichia coli, Enterococci).
Controls and monitoring
Drinking water is water intended for human consumption, as established by law, and must respect both the chemical and physical characteristics and the microbiological characteristics provided for by Council Directive (UE) 2020/2184 and implemented by Legislative Decree 18/2023. Briefly, there are certain strict parameters for substances dissolved in water and a total ban on certain bacteria. Periodic checks are carried out by our laboratories, which comply with the European reference criteria set out in the Water Safety Plan. The results are then reported in the 'water label', which is available on-line and shown in water bills.
for preparing food and drink and other household uses
Learn more about our Salazzurra Research Centre where we analyses the water of the Metropolitan City of Milan.
The CAP Group analysis laboratory has a team of technicians who analyse more than 26,000 samples every year, day after day, recording nearly 730,000 chemical and microbiological parameters and ensuring good and high-quality water. In addition to internal controls, water quality is tested by the local Health Protection Agency (ATS). We also offer our customers various packages for household water quality analysis,
with sampling and parameter analysis performed in our laboratories.