Clean drinking water is vital for man. Water pipes are in permanent danger of being contaminated. In addition, drinking water supply constitutes a potential target for terrorist attacks. Thus, it is essential that threats to public health are recognized at an early stage.
The German drinking water ordinance requires regular checks for certain pathogens and chemical substances. This is normally done by taking samples and examining them in a laboratory. Standard analysis methods used are protracted and limited to certain parameters: unknown or unexpected toxic substances are therefore not detected in a timely way making these methods unsuitable for use as warning systems which can indicate the presence of chemical or biological substances at an early stage.