Where does the Lurd spring lie?
The Lurd spring is located in a forested and uninhabited area of Lurd above the thermal spas of Rimske Toplice, where the water temperature is approximately 10°C. The water spring, which belongs to the medium hard water class, lies in a water protection area, and is therefore additionally protected. Protection is also provided by a decree on the protection of drinking water issued by the Municipality of Laško.
• How is the Lurd spring protected?
The Lurd spring is located inside the 1st protection belt, approved by a municipal decree. A special regime of spatial intervention applies for this belt; harvest or any other interventions are not allowed, except for urgent forest maintenance works where natural biodegradable oils are used. Spatial interventions fall within the domain of the land's owner, Pivovarna Laško.
• What is the Lurd spring famous for?
The Lurd spring is located in a protected forest area of the Rimske Toplice spas. The first church in Europe outside of France, dedicated to Mary, Mother of God, stands in its vicinity. The small church of Lurd was built in 1886. According to written sources, stones from the renowned French cave of »Lourdes«, after which the spring was given its name, were embedded in its altar. Oral tradition has it that the water spring, supposedly having miraculous powers, lies under the church.
• What are the catchments of the Oda spring water?
Catchments are deep in the impermeable dolomite rock, and are protected by a concrete shaft against the influences of its surroundings. There is an entry installation above them, protecting them from eventual irruptions of rainwater.
• Is water from the Lurd spring processed in any way at the Pivovarna Laško brewery?
At Pivovarna Laško we do not mix Oda with other water and we do not process it. We just filter it roughly and finely before bottling it. This is why it does not contain any by-products.
The entire bottling process is strictly protected, in particular water delivery to the bottling facility. Bottling can begin only after inspecting the incoming water, and in addition to our own control, we concluded contracts with authorized institutions that have been accredited to check the quality parameters of water and other products.
• How is Oda being bottled?
Water that surfaces by itself does not need to be pumped. We activate boreholes with compressed air. Boreholes are connected to the aquifer with stainless steel pipes.
At Pivovarna Laško we first blow the PET plastic bottles. Via air transport they are carried to the rinsing machine, where they are rinsed with sterile water before bottling and capping. Bottling and capping are followed by labelling and level control. After that plastic bottles are moved by track transporters to packing machines into various packing units.
Contact with water and consequently microbiological contamination is prevented using air. The line is cleaned and sterilized with steam before and after each bottling procedure.
• What kind of water is Oda?
Oda is spring water that has been presented on the market since 1999. Since it contains a low level of minerals (392 mg of dissolved mineral substances per litre), it belongs among water with a low mineral content. Due to low sodium content, which contributes to maintaining a normal blood pressure, it is suitable for a low sodium/salt diet. A chemical composition with a mild concentration of natural carbon dioxide provides a long freshness, and due to its beneficial composition it is suitable for all age groups.
By entering the market Oda has become the official water of the Slovenian Olympic Team, and the long cooperation will continue also in the future Olympic cycle.
At the 51st International Fair of Agriculture and Food AGRA 2013, Oda was awarded the gold medal for quality.
• What kind of controls is Oda subjected to?
Bottled spring water is regarded as foodstuff, therefore strict law, regulating foodstuffs trade, apply to it. The HACCP (hazard analysis and critical control points) standard and the control over the quality of spring water are subject to particularly strict regulation by the Rules on natural mineral water, spring water and table water (Official Journal of RS, no. 50/2004).
Careful safety control of bottled water is carried out at the origin, between the bottling procedure and in the final product, in accordance with the HACCP principle, a foodstuffs safety system that defines urgent procedures for consumer safety, prescribes controls and determines corrective measures, where necessary.
Since Pivovarna Laško Union d.o.o. is the holder of the water right – concession, we are also required to prepare a monitoring programme for using catchments, which means that each year we have to submit an annual report on monitoring results to the Slovenian Environment Agency.
• How is it ensured that Oda does not contain contaminants?
To ensure that the source of our spring water is safe for use we basically satisfied two important requirements. The first is that before use we thoroughly check the water spring and together with authorized institutions we confirm that water quality and safety are suitable.
The second form of ensuring purity is source protection, which has to be established after the approval for its use. Every source must be protected against influences of the external environment and water bottlers must ensure that water remains untainted.
Since Pivovarna Laško Union d.o.o. is the holder of the water right – concession, we are also required to prepare a programme for monitoring/control of the safety suitability of spring water for catchment use. This means that each year we must submit an annual report on monitoring results to the Slovenian Environment Agency.
• How often do you carry out tests?
Water is subject to strict supervision at its source and during all production phases on the basis of control plans stemming from the obligatory HACCP (hazard analysis and critical control points) system.
Products will not go on sale until samples of water, which is sampled before and during bottling, and samples of final products show that bottling is fully compliant with the criteria of the Rules on natural mineral water, spring water and table water.
Since bottled water belongs to foodstuffs, control checks during bottling are very frequent, consequently the number of individual samples is rather high; on average it is significantly higher than the number of samples of any other source of drinking water.
The entire bottling process must be compliant with food safety regulations, and it must also take into consideration good practice and guidelines adopted in the food industry.
• What types of bottled water are available to the consumer?
Three types of bottled water are available to the consumer: natural mineral water, spring water and drinking water. Variants for natural mineral water - according to the presence or absence of CO2 - are also available. Their labelling is regulated by a special legislation for bottled water and by rules for general food labelling.
• Is all bottled water the same?
Although they may look the same, each type of water is unique due to its underground spring and spectrum of different flavours and compositions it offers. Each type of water differs according to its specific mineral composition, which gives to each water a particular character and flavour. Bottled water can be further divided based on CO2 content.
• What is the difference between mineral and spring water?
Both must originate from a determined underground water source and must be safe for drinking at the source itself, where water should be bottled directly. However, natural mineral water must ensure a stable mineral composition, as indicated on the label, whereas the mineral composition of spring water may vary. The chemical composition of spring water does not need to be indicated on the label.
• How is control over bottled water and its quality regulated?
All bottled water is classified as food product; therefore it is subject to continuous control by relevant national authorities. As such, it has to comply with strict European and national food safety requirements as well as good practice in the field of hygiene. Moreover, water is subject to frequent tests and analyses based on the HACCP system.
Issues regarding bottled water are regulated by numerous rules, directives and regulations, , among which
• the Rules on natural mineral water, spring water and table water (OJ of RS no. 50/2004, 75/2005);
• the Rules on drinking water (OJ of RS no. 19/2004, 35/2004, 26/2006, 92/2006, 92/2006);
• the Council Directive 98/83/EC on the quality of water intended for human consumption.
The strictest criteria and statutory regulations in the category of bottled water with regard to water quality and content of hazardous substances apply to natural mineral water. Water must be approved by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food on the basis of geological and hydro-geological, physical and physical-chemical, sensory, chemical and microbiological criteria.
Quality control and control over the suitability of natural mineral water, which is already on the market, is ensured by continually monitoring the parameters of natural mineral water by the manufacturer and by authorized organizations (Institute of Public Health Maribor, Institute of Public Health Novo mesto and Institute of Public Health Celje).
• What are the differences between natural mineral water, spring water and tap water?
Natural mineral and spring water
Natural mineral water and spring water can originate only from special underground water sources. These are natural sources, wells or boreholes. Groundwater is water recharged from rain water and melted snow, filtered through the surface and seeping through pores and cracks in the layers of underground rock. Rocks act as a natural filter and due to its location under the ground; groundwater is well protected against surface pollution.
Tap water comes from various sources: from surface water, such as lakes, rivers (reservoirs), and from groundwater (wells, horizontal galleries) or from a combination of both. Drinking water originates also from sea water by way of desalination.
Natural mineral and spring water
Natural mineral water and spring water must always be clean and drinkable at the source itself, without being processed or disinfected. Certain elements, such as iron and manganese, can be removed under restricted conditions; however, the composition characteristics for each individual type of water must not change. Selective reduction of natural fluorine concentration is also permitted, provided that it is above the health-beneficial limit values.
In the EU tap water must satisfy strict requirements regarding the safety of drinking water. For this reason a wide spectrum of processing is therefore permitted and frequently even required.
Filtration and purification are mandatory for surface water sources and usually for groundwater. Chlorination is a common microbiological protection measure during distribution through water pipes, although it causes an undesired flavour. Chlorination is sometimes forbidden, under the condition that distribution networks are high-standard.
Even though tap water must always be suitable for drinking, it may contain remnants of chemicals and by-products formed during processing or other traces.
Natural mineral and spring water
Natural mineral water and spring water are bottled directly at the source. It is supplied to the bottling facility through state-of-the-art pipes and is directly filled in bottles equipped with an indestructible cap. Transport other than in the packaging intended for the final user is prohibited. The entire distribution of natural mineral and spring water is supervised from their source all the way to the final user.
Tap water is available as safe drinking water, supplied to the final user through a water supply network, usually a few kilometres long. Although suppliers have control and the possibility of maintaining and protecting the network, they have significantly less control on the private property of the final user, where the risk of contamination is greater.
Information for consumers
Natural mineral and spring water
The label on bottled water must provide very accurate information about the purchased water to the consumer. In particular, labels on natural mineral water must indicate the location of the spring, what is the stable composition of minerals and in some cases also the beneficial effects on health.
Tap water does not provide information to the consumer at the location of consumption, compliance with the legislation is, however, assumed, and water quality information must be available at the consumer's request or on the supplier's website.
Natural mineral and spring water
Natural mineral water and spring water are available as different brands and flavours, ranging from a very low to a very high mineral content. We also differentiate them on the basis of the presence or absence of CO2.
Drinking water does not offer any choice to the consumer. Although legal compliance is required, the flavour may differ greatly from location to location, sometimes even from day to day.
• Which water should I pick – bottled water or tap water?
Tap water is undoubtedly cheaper; however, it is becoming increasingly contaminated due to man's negligent attitude toward the environment. Unfortunately, the fact that tap water in some areas is not drinkable any more has become a reality also in Slovenia.
Due to strict regulations, primary water supply lines in Slovenia are well-maintained, which is ensured by the concession holders, the risk increases, however, in secondary lines, in building supply networks and in obsolete/oversized lines made of unsuitable materials.
Tap water (water supply lines) allows various procedures of processing raw water, in a physical manner as well as by adding chemical substances for disinfection, causing the formation of hazardous compounds.
• Does bottled water have particular health benefits?
Water is of vital importance for humans, since without it we could survive for just a few days. Drinking a sufficient quantity of water is beneficial for our health and well-being. It also contributes to maintaining normal bodily and cognitive functions. It has an important role in regulating body temperature. A varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle are also very important. Water contains no calories, sugar or additives.
Bottled water offers a convenient way of taking in a sufficient quantity of liquids, 1.5 to 2 litres per day throughout the entire day, particularly in situations where tap water is not available.
• Why should we pay so much more for bottled water given that tap water is so cheap?
The price of bottled water is a reflection of numerous investments aimed at protecting the source, of complying with quality and safety standards, removing unstable elements, paying taxes and duties as well as ensuring a safe, convenient, durable and ecologically designed packaging.
The low price of tap water is the consequence of the fact that we use it in fairly large quantities (in Europe up to 200 litres per person on a daily basis) and in addition to drinking it also offers other possibilities of usage (as a foodstuff it represents only 1 percent of the entire usage).
Furthermore, tap water is not always available, in which case bottled water also represents a cost-effective alternative to other beverages.
• Is bottled water necessary when tap water is available?
Bottled water offers a simple and comfortable way of taking in a sufficient quantity of liquids to the consumer - anywhere and anytime. We could call it »takeaway water«. It is portable, significantly lighter and unbreakable in case of a plastic bottle, and provides information about its exact composition and origin to the consumer.
• Why is bottled water of crucial importance for a smooth everyday life?
Bottled water represents a safe choice to the consumer, when tap water is not available or when the situation itself requires the use of bottled water. It provides an important supply of drinking water in case of emergency, extraordinary situations or natural catastrophes (floods, severe draughts, contamination at the source or in water treatment plants), when tap water is not available. Service providers must ensure safe drinking water at any time. In case of supply disruption, tap water suppliers must ensure temporary alternatives, such as bottled water.
• What are the advantages of the new Oda plastic bottle?
The new plastic bottle is designed according to the principle of modern design. It is handy (fits well in the hand), it is lighter by a quarter in comparison to the previous plastic bottle (and therefore even more environmentally friendly), and has a lower cap (for easier drinking). Less material is used for its manufacture, consequently reducing costs and the environmental impact.
An inscription in Braille was included on the bottle, making it easier to be recognized by the blind and visually impaired.
• Why is Oda bottled in plastic bottles?
Glass as well as plastic has their pros and cons, and use depends on consumer habits.
The main reason for bottling it in plastic bottles is simply because we want people to consume it always and everywhere with a clean and natural flavour, on different occasions and in different life periods. Plastic bottles are lighter, handier, and unbreakable and can be used at public events, public baths, etc.
• Is the Oda plastic bottle BPA-free?
With certificates issued by suppliers we can attest that the Oda plastic bottle does not contain BPA. Furthermore, it is safe and completely renewable, as all food packaging. Waste packaging must, of course, be correctly disposed of, and all the parties involved in the process must ensure that the recycling circle is completed.
• Do you recycle your plastic bottles?
Pivovarna Laško treats waste packaging in accordance with the national scheme for waste management. All our plastic bottles are intended for recycling, for this reason they are equipped with instructions on how to properly dispose of them. Only then and when all the parties involved in the process ensure the operation of the entire recycling circle, plastic bottles may be adequately processed.
• Is Pivovarna Laško an environmentally friendly company?
At Pivovarna Laško we are aware of the importance of preserving the environment. This is why we follow the guidelines of a sustainable development and reduction of the negative impacts on the environment. Water consumption in manufacturing processes is also on our priority list. Water sources are of key importance for the beverage industry, since the quality of the final products depends on their quality.
The Laško Group is managing geologically very different water sources, since companies are located in different areas, each having its own specific characteristics, giving different chemical and physical properties to water. All water sources lie deep underground, thus ensuring a constant water quality, even during calamities and flash floods. In terms of geology, sources of Pivovarna Laško are located on a dolomite soil composition.
Water quality control is carried out in our own laboratories, but also by external organizations (usually in laboratories of local healthcare institutes), ensuring the highest quality of the final products – various types of beverages offered to consumers.
Water consumption in manufacturing processes is carefully planned (since 2007 we managed to reduce the consumption of fresh water by 15%), and with our waste water treatment plant we ensure the purification of municipal sewage. Water purified in this manner is released back to nature, thus completing the circle.
Pivovarna Laško owns the land where the Lurd spring, which supplies the Oda spring water, is located. At the same time, the company is also the concession holder and administrator of the water supply network in the Municipality of Laško, which demands an even greater responsibility with regard to a careful and thorough protection of water sources. .