Berlin′s BER airport: Coliform bacteria found in drinking water | News | DW | 02.11.2021

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Berlin's BER airport: Coliform bacteria found in drinking water

The German capital's BER airport was almost nine years behind schedule and way over budget when it finally opened for business a year ago. Now, the scandal-hit site has a new problem: dirty water.

A person filling a glass up with water from a tap

Coliform bacteria does not usually cause illness, but it can be a sign of other pathogens in the water supply

Coliform bacteria has been found in the drinking water at Berlin's beleaguered new BER airport, the operating company said Tuesday.

The discovery is the latest in a long list of woes that the infamous airport has struggled with since its conception three decades ago. Its opening, originally planned for 2012, was repeatedly delayed amid technical difficulties and allegations of corruption.

When it finally did open in October 2020 — almost nine years behind schedule and costing three times more than originally planned — the coronavirus pandemic had largely brought air traffic to a halt.

What's the problem now?

The coliform bacteria were detected during a routine test of the water system in the main terminal of the Berlin-Brandenburg Airport, the operating firm said.

Watch video 03:59

Is Berlin's BER Airport finally taking off?

It is not clear what caused the contamination. The firm said that all pipes will have to be flushed, a process that is expected to take several days. It also warned that water in all sanitary facilities in Terminal 1 and the special government terminal should not be used as drinking water in the meantime.

Coliform bacteria occur naturally in the intestines and in nature and are unlikely to cause illness. However, the germs can indicate the presence of other harmful organisms which could cause diarrhea or vomiting.

Notorious BER

Over the past year, German newspapers have reported a raft of other problems at the site, including overflowing rubbish bins, broken floor tiles, frequently dirty toilets and faulty escalators.

A report on the airport's first year of operation is expected to be delivered on November 5.

Last week, the CEO of the airport's operating company warned that it was running out of money and urgently needed an injection of cash in order to avoid bankruptcy. 

nm/wmr (AFP, dpa)

Watch video 04:19

The architecture of Berlin's new airport

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