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Micro-organisms in Polish Drinking Water

We have a place in the centre a small town in Poland. Yesterday on a wander around the town we noticed an A4 piece of paper taped to the window of one of the shops in the town. It was a notice from the water company. It warned people not to drink the town's water without boiling it as it contains harmful micro-organisms!

No notification has been made to residents of the town except for these A4 bits of paper outside three of the shops in the town! Most people probably haven't seen these notices and are therefore completely unaware of the problem.

A doctor friend has suggested that this micro-organism is most likely Hepatitis A transmitted through sewage contamination. According to her "the problem is widespread in Poland".

I should point that I have never drunk water straight from the tap in Poland, but, all the same. This is an EU country, that collects huge amounts of tax from its populace, not fu*king Ghana or India!

Any comments ...

Re: Micro-organisms in Polish Drinking Water

We always boil our water.

Re: Micro-organisms in Polish Drinking Water

Most of Eastern Europe has the same problem. It was certainly the case when I visited Russia back in the 1990s.

Re: Micro-organisms in Polish Drinking Water

I remember the Uk getting fined years ago by the EU because water was not up to spec, when will Poland be fined? As you say they take huge amounts of money to improve water but it taking far too long.

Re: Micro-organisms in Polish Drinking Water

Although drinking water is no worse in Poland than any other eastern bloc countries, The cost associated with producing clean water is very expensive and beyond the reach of government funds.
The more industrial development in Poland the more strain it will be placed on water reserves.
I read a report that some soft drink manufacturers don't purify water used in manufacturing, just add a cocktail of chemicals to make there products safe.
In some smaller towns, people describe the water as tasting worse that water flushed down the toilet.
Poland has failed secure new water resources.

Re: Micro-organisms in Polish Drinking Water

The problem in our area is not one of water shortage. It's people pouring shit straight into the lakes, which is then used as drinking water. The summer house (hut) people are too blame for the pollution. My town has the same problems. We never drink Polish mains water, not even in tea or coffee.

Re: Micro-organisms in Polish Drinking Water

Poland is probably in a similar position to most mediterranean countries a few years ago as far as water quality goes. Different parts of Poland have better water quality depending on the local source. I only drink filtered tapwater in the UK and no tapwater at all when I go on holiday. Unfortunately it's having coffee in a cafe that gives me a funny tummy.

I remember being told to use mineral water to even brush teeth in Italy and Spain in the 80s, so not sure why people expect ex eastern bloc countries which were stuck in a time warp for fifty years to be more advanced than the med and yet there is an acceptance of all sorts of inconvenience in the med (because it is so hot there etc).

Re: Micro-organisms in Polish Drinking Water

I've never heard of problems with drinking water in Italy.

Re: Micro-organisms in Polish Drinking Water

Some parts of Italy did have problems 20 years back. Probably sorted long ago.

Re: Micro-organisms in Polish Drinking Water

Greeks don't drink mains water.

The water where we live, to the west of Warsaw, is drawn from a deep well and tastes just fine. Warsaw is trying to persuade our gmina authorities to swap water with them!!

Re: Micro-organisms in Polish Drinking Water

In most of Warsaw the water can be drunk (though many people won't). Any damage it causes is likely to be long-term rather than short term, due to rusting pipes etc. The water itself, filtered by the original system that the British installed for them years ago, is actually OK. There are a couple of housing estates near the river that draw their water directly from the Wisła - that water most definitely can't be drunk, but most is OK. I have a friend (English) living on one of those estates who made himself quite ill by drinking the water.

Mineral water, in huge plastic drums is cheap enough, and the major suppliers will deliver it right to your door. There are also 50 oligocene wells around the city with free mineral water - so there is no excuse for not using good water.

I think people living in Britain (maybe the US is the same?) are rather spoilt by having good drinkable water - in my home in Yorkshire, the water comes straight from the hills and tastes like bottled water.

Re: Micro-organisms in Polish Drinking Water

"Some parts of Italy did have problems 20 years back. Probably sorted long ago. "

I did say it was in the 80s! Italy was not under communist rule for 50 years hence has no real excuse for having foul water in the 80s. Give Poland a bit of time to catch up

Re: Micro-organisms in Polish Drinking Water

drinking water is no worse in Poland than any other eastern bloc countries.

Mmmmm it is now a European country, being given vast amounts of money to invest in water treatment, a lot of work was carried out in the north a few years back, Sopot has very good water.

Re: Micro-organisms in Polish Drinking Water

Well I know that they have greatly improved the water my mum's home town near Krakow receives. Proof of this is that I don't get tummy problems when I stay there now. There was a big project in that area. I did however get a funny tummy from coffee when I stayed in krakow two years ago. I think remote areas suffer because they are concentrating funded projects where the population is larger.

There was a thread on here about this a year or so ago. The problem in Poland is that there is so much investment needed to improve on the slapdash soviet bloc infrastructure. Not only that but some remote places were never even connected to the main water supply etc and people are still getting that sorted because it all costs a lot. Some people in remote areas were still using wells for water in the 90s and had outside cesspit style lavs (I was quite taken aback in 1992, when visiting a lovely house with all mod cons but which had a wooden outside non flushing lav...the construction was charming with a little moon carved into the door, but what a pong!).

Having said that I remember travelling through spain, portugal, france and italy in the mid to late 80s and having to face holes in the ground in some cafes etc. They still have the squat down jobs in parts of greece.

I am sure that you still cannot safely drink the water on some greek islands. Islands tend to have problems with sewage (all that stuff about not throwing toilet paper in the loo).

On a tangent the squat down loos are apparently much better for you than sitting on a throne ones, apparently it's a more natural position for evacuation....

Re: Micro-organisms in Polish Drinking Water

I think they're making real improvements. In large cities it is of course harder. On a side note, one great thing about the water supply in Polish towns is the high pressure. All showers are really powerful, much better than the dismal trickle that you get in Britain.

Re: Micro-organisms in Polish Drinking Water

you'd get a good shower in the UK, too, if the hot water system was at mains pressure .... rather than from a header tank in the attic.

Re: Micro-organisms in Polish Drinking Water

"Some people in remote areas were still using wells for water in the 90s and had outside cesspit style lavs (I was quite taken aback in 1992"


Not just in remote areas and cesspits are still present today.

There is no excuse for potentially fatal microorganisms in mains water anywhere in Europe. Poland receives enormous amounts of money from the EU. It's just not spent as it should be.

Re: Micro-organisms in Polish Drinking Water

It's quite big business drilling wells - some people like them, some people who also have mains water get a well. The deeper they are, the more they cost.

Re: Micro-organisms in Polish Drinking Water

The ones I'm talking about had been there for many a generation. The areas I'm thinking of are on the edges of the countryside or right in the depths of the countryside.

Well water can't be too bad for you. When I was in Poland I think in 1990, my aunt took me to the farm of a very old couple (they must have been in their 80s or 90s). It was a fascinating experience. They lived in an old type chata where they had lived since marriage, (the type that is painted eggshell blue) with no electricity I think and no running water or anything. I can't remember if water was from a manual pump or well. The house was in the middle of a field surrounded by nothing but rolling hills for miles. They had chickens and I think a cow. An amazing example of self sufficiency. Obviously that kind of lifestyle is dying out now. I can believe that some still do live like that. Funny though but some people in the UK are taking to such a lifestyle as an "eco friendly" alternative to the consumer society....

One of my mother's best friends from childhood also lives in a lovely house (pristine inside) which has its own well and she gets requests for water from people who believe this water is more pure than tapwater. From the sound of it they are not far wrong!

I am a bit fussy I guess because I do not drink tapwater anywhere in the world. Has Polish tapwater been through seven people too? (they say that's the average for London tapwater and that it is full of hormones they can't flush out from women taking the pill).

Re: Micro-organisms in Polish Drinking Water

By the way, just curious, but could I dig for a well in my back garden in London? Or do you need a water diviner?

Re: Micro-organisms in Polish Drinking Water

Ground water in London Aghhhhh

We have outr own well at our summer house in Poland, our own pump, water is great, tested and 100% safe to drink.

Re: Micro-organisms in Polish Drinking Water

Ania try these:-

http://www.wbadmorgan.co.uk/au_domestic.htm

Apparently it is OK to have a well :-)

Re: Micro-organisms in Polish Drinking Water

Thanks Daywid.

Lol how bizarre. I would love to see what the neighbours thought if one of those drilling machines turned up at our house! It would doubtless get a parking ticket...The clay soil would probably ruin the flavour of any water.

From what this is saying, there are people with septic tanks in the UK too ...see FAQ). I thought this was only the case for those living on barges. I guess self sufficiency is becoming a challenging hobby for some.

Re: Micro-organisms in Polish Drinking Water

The problem in our area is not one of water shortage. It's people pouring shit straight into the lakes, which is then used as drinking water. The summer house (hut) people are too blame for the pollution. My town has the same problems. We never drink Polish mains water, not even in tea or coffee.



Hmmm.. Hans, they say if you don't get caught on the straight you get caught on the roundabout! Do you eat strawberries, well last time I was in Poland I tasted the most beautiful strawberries, I asked the grower his secret, well believe it or not he mixes human waste with a cocktail of other animal matter. Won't eat strawberries anymore.
The bloke told me that most farmers used human waste as fertilizer, something which is illegal in Oz.
I guess a bit of brown flavoring can only enhance the taste of Polish water.

Re: Micro-organisms in Polish Drinking Water



Thanks for the laugh offbeat...and here I always wondered why Polish produce tastes so good.

Re: Micro-organisms in Polish Drinking Water

Thanks for the laugh offbeat...and here I always wondered why Polish produce tastes so good.

Mike C, I've always been admired for my sense of humor, but regretfully on this occasion it is no laughing matter. Human waste as fertilizer is banned in Oz, China is another country which uses rare human waste, you may recall that tinned tomatoes contained evidence of human waste and has been banned in this country. Sorry to give you the bad news

Re: Micro-organisms in Polish Drinking Water

Pretty gross thought, what is the diff between using human waste and using animal waste? Is animal waste cleaner?

Re: Micro-organisms in Polish Drinking Water

if the waste is treated - composted eg - then it can be ok. the problem is when it's untreated ... then you get the chance of spreading all sorts of worms and illnesses.
I've driven past fields being treated in that way and it was pretty horrible. The smell was worse than chicken slurry because it was easily identifiable as 'human'.

Most buildings around where we live - and even in the local town - don't have access to town sewers. The scary ones are where you never see the tractor/truck pumping anything out. Then you wonder just what's happening down there ...

i wouldn't trust most Polish farmers as far as I could prod them with a pitchfork. The farmyards are soggy enough places when it rains - all that bird poop mixed with whatever runs off the manure heap and/or whatever animal body parts are rotting in the corner. If I thought human waste was being added to that ... /off for restorative cup of coffee/

Re: Micro-organisms in Polish Drinking Water

But where do they get enough supply??? Do you reckon they use their own and if so where on earth do they store it ....cesspits?! If cesspits then surely it is mixed with urine which has ammonia and doesn't that harm plants?

Re: Micro-organisms in Polish Drinking Water

supply of what? water? (having a /duh/ Monday).
There's mains water no problem.
The problem is what happens with the output.
And that's with the 'normal' houses.
We have neighbours who are living in somewhere which I 90% suspect isn't registered as habitable ... someone mentioned they drew water off a spring well with a pump ... I try not to wonder where the sewage goes (especially because the far corner of our field - the area with the springs - is downhill of their, eh, property).
Other neighbours upgraded a few years back - bought a honking tank off the local scrapyard and buried it in the field. On reflection it looked like an old fuel tank from a petrol station ... I wonder how many years before that fills up, and what happens then (think: people with a few zloty to spare hire a 'tanker' to empty the tank and draw the contents off at speed - others use a local tractor-drawn affair with quite a small tank and noIdon'tWantToThinkWhereHeTakesIt ... /sigh/)

wanna know any more detail

Re: Micro-organisms in Polish Drinking Water

"But where do they get enough supply???"

As Claire says they get the shit from every house with a cess pit. They charge them for emptying the tank and then drive it away and dump it on fields or straight into rivers and lakes .

Re: Micro-organisms in Polish Drinking Water

thanks, Hans - my brain derailed a bit there.

My colleague at work is convinced it's all taken to A Sewer Entry point and pumped into the system there .. but I call him an eternal (townie) optimist.


This says a lot of what I'd rather not think about
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cesspit

Re: Micro-organisms in Polish Drinking Water

Each town sewage works does have a point for tankers, BUT, the tractor tanker drivers have to pay to use it. This is the crucial point.

Re: Micro-organisms in Polish Drinking Water

“what is the diff between using human waste and using animal waste?”
-Pathogens.

“ammonia and doesn't that harm plants?”
Urine burn on plants or lawns (usually from dogs) is a case of too much of a good thing. These are actually nitrogen burns. Plants love nitrogen, just not too much.

“They charge them for emptying the tank and then drive it away”
Don’t ever drive behind a tanker truck during a rain storm.