Water Industry News

Businesses Warned Of Potential Dangers Of Stagnant Water Supply

Many businesses in England will be preparing to reopen in some capacity from 12 April, with this being the next significant date in the calendar towards easing the country’s national lockdown.


As outlined in the government’s roadmap out of lockdown in February, from 12 April it is hoped that non-essential retailers, personal care businesses (such as hairdressers and beauticians), and community centres and libraries will be able to reopen.


In addition, indoor leisure facilities including gyms and swimming pools will also be allowed to open up on this date. For hospitality, there is some light at the end of the tunnel, with businesses that have outdoor space allowed to serve customers here, as well as to provide takeaways.


However, after three months in lockdown, many business premises may not have been in use much, if at all, for a considerable period of time.


An article for Gloucestershire Live recently warned businesses of the dangers that could come from their water system as a result of it not having been used for months on end. According to the news provider, the stagnant water that’s in the system could have become a breeding ground for all manner of bacteria.


In particular, the warning relates to a potential build up of Legionella bacteria, which causes Legionnaires disease. This illness can cause pneumonia, and in extreme cases results in death. The environmental health team at Stroud District Council is contacting businesses that have been closed to warn them of the risks.


The team is also sharing advice about what steps businesses can take to reduce the risk of any of their staff or customers coming into contact with Legionella bacteria.


Speaking to the news provider, Simon Pickering, chairman of the environment committee at Stroud District Council, said that any business with a water supply that has been closed for months will need to take action before they reopen.


“There is an increased risk in businesses that use aerosol forming equipment such as taps, showerheads and hoses, which can produce water droplets small enough to be easily inhaled,” he stated.


Inhalation of water droplets that contain the Legionella bacteria is how it typically enters our bodies before developing into Legionnaires disease, the news provider noted.


The advice issued by the council is relatively simple and easy to follow. The first step is to flush through both cold and hot water systems with fresh mains water for several minutes. If it’s possible, increase the temperature of hot water to above 60 degrees C, as exposure to water at this temperature or higher can kill the bacteria over time.


It also recommended that any business that uses showers should dismantle the showerheads and clean them thoroughly.


Chemical or thermal disinfecting of the water system may be required in some cases too, as well as microbiological sampling of the water supply to determine whether Legionella bacteria is present.


Taking the time to flush out your water system now, and to take any additional cleaning steps necessary, will mean your business is ready for reopening come 12 April.


If you want to use this time to compare business water suppliers, take a look at our services to learn how we can help.