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For water that is proven to be used for garden irrigation, a property owner does not have to pay any sanitation fees. This was decided by the Administrative Court of Baden-Wuerttemberg (VGH) in Mannheim in a ruling published on Monday (file No. 2 S 2650/08). Previous minimum thresholds for exemption from charges violate the principle of equal treatment and are therefore inadmissible.
Thus, the VGH confirmed a decision of the administrative court of Karlsruhe and gave the action of a land owner against the city of Neckargemünd instead. There, the wastewater fee is measured as usual according to the amount of freshwater purchased. Water, which according to a separate water meter has been proven not to get into the sewage system, remains free of charge on request, but only from a minimum of 20 cubic meters.
The fresh water scale brings as a measure of probability inaccuracies with it. These are to be accepted as far as the normal consumption by cooking or drinking is concerned, since these quantities are hardly measurable in relation to the total amount of used drinking water. However, this does not apply to the quantities of water used for garden irrigation.
The judges now ruled that the minimum level of exemption for those citizens who used less than 20 cubic meters of water for garden irrigation was inferior, and considered this a breach of the principle of equal treatment. Therefore, on the one hand, the minimum limit is inadmissible and, on the other hand, the extra effort required to record the amount of waste water with two water meters is justified. However, the cost of installing the additional water meter must be borne by the property owner.
A revision was not allowed, but the non-admission can be challenged by appeal before the Federal Administrative Court.