The bank filtration is a natural method of drinking water abstraction. Surface water is infiltrated into the subsoil by extracting groundwater and in the process naturally purified. Along the way from surface water to the well, physical, chemical and microbiologic procedures take place. On the one hand this scientific paper comprises a general literature study from 2008 until 2013 about the actual knowledge of bank filtration and on the other hand practical insights on further drinking-water purification from bank filtration along the rivers Rhine and Danube. The examined parameters of this literature study were organised by physical, chemical and microbiological processes as well as spatial allocation. Besides the waters residence time in the subsoil the redox-conditions have the greatest effect on significant removal processes like biological degradation or sorption. Nowadays, „emerging“ trace substances, which are insufficiently studied and toxicologically difficult to predict, constitute the main problem. Since the close cooperation of waterworks in the Rhine basin, which aims at a natural drinking water abstraction from surface and ground waters, water pollution has been significantly reduced. This was due to regular water quality monitoring, scientific studies on drinking water protection and the implementation of appropriate measures. Technical combinations of different purification stages have proven to be successful for further processing of bank filtrates. In comparison, most of the European and national requirements for drinking water abstraction from surface water were met in the upper and middle region of the Danube, whereas downstream of the Austrian catchment area measurements for the determination of the pollution with organic trace substances and microbiological contaminants are rare.