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Air Force coffee made from radiator water

Air Force coffee made from radiator water

Published: 17 Feb 2013 07:58 GMT+01:00
Updated: 17 Feb 2013 07:58 GMT+01:00

A dozen employees at an air force base in Blekinge in southern Sweden have been drinking coffee made with water used for central heating for the past two years after a pipe was connected wrongly.

The error was discovered only when the heating system was shut down for the installation of a district heating system.

"As the coffee is black and the radiator water is a bit brown, then we haven't noticed the difference," said Captain Catharina Bergsell, information officer at the F 17 squadron.

She had however noticed that the coffee from the machine in the room where she works hadn't tasted that good.

"When you drink coffee from a vending machine it always tastes a little different than fresh coffee and it may not have the best consistency. An espresso machine has one flavour and coffee from regular coffee beans has another."

The problem has been that the coffee machine was connected to the heating unit, a closed system which pumps around 200-300 litres of water between the radiators, instead of the drinking water.

The radiators simply refilled automatically as staff continued to drink the heating system water.

It remains unclear why the machine was connected to the heating system and the matter will be investigated. Had the radiator not been switched off, the problem would most likely not have come to light.

"No one had a clue about this until the water was turned off. Had that not happened, I reckon it would not have been noticed until there had been a change of supplier or some such," Catharina Bergsell said.

The water in a closed system is usually considered bacteria free but it may still contain traces of metals, particularly iron but also lead, copper and manganese.

Staff at the air force base will therefore undergo tests, but there have been to date no reports of personnel falling ill.

A report has been filed with the Work Environment Authority (Arbestmiljöverket).

TT/The Local/pvs (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

08:44 February 17, 2013 by Decedo
Ahhh Sweden. Don't you just love non-accountability :)
10:28 February 17, 2013 by Strongbow
This has soviet spy attack written all over it.
11:21 February 17, 2013 by Hisingen
Doesn't say much for their taste in coffee, though, as the water must have been pre-heated instaed of cold - necessary for a good brew.

Wonder if they are suffering from 'radiation' as a result?
11:43 February 17, 2013 by EP
Does it matter, coffee in Sweden is crap anyway ...
13:35 February 17, 2013 by Hisingen
- - -1:43 February 17, 2013 by EP

Does it matter, coffee in Sweden is crap anyway ...

By which standard do you make your judgement - USA?? If so that is NO criterium.
14:27 February 17, 2013 by cogito
@Hisingen (#5)

Really? There are more than between 1,500-1,600 Starbucks in Europe, 755 in the U.K. alone.

It would seem that many Europeans prefer U.S.A. coffee.
20:18 February 17, 2013 by Hisingen
Starbucks make a hot dring and many a fast buck, but who says they make coffee??
20:57 February 17, 2013 by Logic_and_Reason
Coffee is coffee. Sometimes it is good, sometimes it is bad. I have had excellent coffee from Starbux and really bad coffee from Starbux. I have had fabulous and terrible coffee from the same cafés in Stockholm. Only three Stockholm cafés make excellent coffee 100% of the time, as far as I know: Drop Coffee, Johan & Nyström (showroom) and a little place on St. Paulsgatan called simply "Kaffe."

But those coffee machines you find in every office and school are dreadful. They make awful coffee no matter what kind of water goes into them. The only coffee that is as bad as this is the coffee you get at Pressbyrån or 7-11.
21:33 February 17, 2013 by cogito
'"Starbucks make a hot dring and many a fast buck, but who says they make coffee?" (#7 Hisingen)

"Who says?" Errr, 1,500 to 1.600 Starbucks in Europe alone. How many customers in each one every day? You do the math. That's who says.

As for making a "fast buck?" Is that supposed to be a bad thing? Oh, I get it. You hate companies making a profit on providing a service and a product that people actually want to pay for.

Have you considered immigrating to North Korea? No one's making a "fast buck" on coffee there. Because there is no coffee. No food either for that matter. But at least no one's making a "fast buck."
13:32 February 19, 2013 by svenskmat
Oh that is great, but can the radiator issue cause some problem to them,
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