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Water runs in pipe work in almost every building in the world. We can categorise the systems into two types – Open and Closed systems. Open systems, those where water runs from outlets to waste and Closed Systems where water is in a closed loop and is re-circulated. There is a third type of system which can be called a semi closed system where the water is re-circulated but is open to the air at some point in it cycle.
The need to manage these systems can be classified into two areas:
1, The quality of the water.
2, The protection of the water system infra structure – pipes and surfaces to which the water will come into contact.
The quality of water is affected by bacterial content, chemical content and the amount of solid matter which will dissolve in it.
If water systems and the water within them are not managed correctly, it is possible to see deterioration in the pipe work and health issues as a result in deterioration in the quality of the water.
Legionella management is important. It is your legal responsibility.
We should always strive to use heat as the primary form of treatment/control of legionella. The installation of a chemical water treatment system as a form of legionella control, may be used as a result of the unsuccessful attempts of controlling the hazard of legionella, by the use of controlling the water temperature. In some cases it may be necessary to use both chemical and heat to maintain control.
We can install a system which will deliver chemical in set amounts that will treat and onwardly remove bacterial build up that maybe inhabiting the water system.
If there are rusting issues in pipe work and brown rust is coming out of the taps, we can install dosing equipment to dose in Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) approved chemicals, which will over time stop the rusting of the pipe work, but it has to be continually dosed to achieve this.
Closed systems e.g. cooling and heating systems, must have water treatment to prevent corrosion and bacteria growth. Water in a closed system is not replaced and remains in a closed loop. There may be nutrients in the system which will encourage bacterial growth and then as a result of chemical changes in the water may damagethe very structure of the system itself. If the hazard of legionella bacteria is present the risk of legionella infection is minimal, but the risk will still be present and will increase when the system is worked on by an engineer and an aerosol is produced. The management of the system is therefore very important.
The chemistry of a closed system is also important to consider to protect and maintain the integrity of metal work that makes up the system itself. Parameters must be checked regularly, monthly if necessary, to ensure that the right levels are being maintained.
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