Designation for a groundwater with a special content of minerals, trace elements or other constituents, the special properties of which are legally defined according to the Mineral and Table Water Ordinance in Germany or the Mineral Water and Spring Water Ordinance in Austria. A historical term without legal standardisation is sour water, which, like sour well, also refers to the source of such mineral water.
Mineral water suitable for sale is subject to strict guidelines laid down in the Mineral and Table Water Ordinance. This ordinance prescribes stricter microbiological limits than for drinking water. It must come from underground water sources and be of original purity (i.e. untreated or not artificially purified). This means that it has not yet been part of the general water cycle. Mineral water is bottled directly at the place of extraction (spring/well) and requires official approval.
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