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The Aquadron Blog

Welcome to our blog - here we discuss aspects of the Aquadron system, the biocide that it produces and the type of problems that we deal with.

Taps, Biofilm and Legionella Control

We recently saw positive Legionella results from a mixer tap (that isn’t unusual we hear you say), however, the cold water feed showed no Legionella, the hot water feed showed no Legionella, but the mixer tap had very high results.

Why is this?

Well, there are several things that we know –

1) No Thermal Protection After the TMV - After the TMV the water temperature is not high enough to kill biofilm or micro-organisms such as Pseudomonas or Legionella, so there is no effective thermal control.

2) Biofilm favours plastic – PVC will attract around 100x the Legionella growth of copper – see http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sites3/Documents/254/2%20Biofilms.pdf. 
Plumbing componants are often plastic, these are at a higher risk to harbouring micro-organisms – below are a few nice electron microscope slides showing what hides in shower pipes and taps…..
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3) The more complicated the taps the more likely the occurrence of Legionella –here is what research found - “Although the high-tech faucets cut daily water consumption by well over half, Johns Hopkins researchers identified Legionella growing in 50 percent of cultured water samples from 20 electronic-eye faucets in or near patient rooms on three different inpatient units, but in only 15 percent of water cultures from 20 traditional, manual faucets in the same patient care areas. Weekly water culture results also showed half the amount of bacterial growth of any kind in the manual faucets than in the electronic models.” See http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/latest_hands_free_electronic_water_faucets_found_to_be_hindrance_not_help_in_hospital_infection_control

4) The water use in specific faucets may be limited - this can cause low-flow, and thus stagnation and lack of flushing.

5) Biofilm likes flow straighteners in taps – see Investigation of healthcare-acquired infections associated with Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms in taps in neonatal units in Northern Ireland. JT Walker et al.

There are many other factors as well, but these few allow you to see that

a) There is no effective microbial control past the TMVs

b) The pipework and equipment past the TMV may actually prove to be at a higher risk of colonisation than the standard piping.

Great, so how do I control Legionella in my taps?

Well, you could install an Aquadron system and disinfect the whole water system, even beyond the TMV’s, all of the time…..

.....and you could do the following -
  • Check for underused outlets and consider installing automatic flow solenoids. 
  • Assess water distribution system for non-metallic materials e.g. flexible hose. 
  • Assess water system for blind ends and dead legs. 
  • Consider disinfection of hot and cold water distribution system and the outlets. 
  • Ensure that the TMV providing the safe hot water is located as close to the tap / shower outlet as possible. 
  • Consider replacing contaminated taps with new taps. 

The Aquadron is a water treatment system that treats all of the water all of the time using a non-hazardous, low-cost biocide that the Aquadron produces. 

Email us now for more information on how the Aquadron could help you.

Legionella Control - The problems with thermal

There are many options for treating Legionella in your water system, but thermal control is still the most popular and the most outdated.

Given the drawbacks of thermal treatment we cant believe that people still rely on it. 

We can only assume that many people fit into the “we have always done it that way” or “we don’t have a problem” camps. 

So what are the drawbacks of thermal treatment? 
It doesn’t work beyond the TMV’s - let us say that again, in bold caps – IT DOESN’T WORK BEYOND THE TMV’s.   Would you buy a car where the brakes didn’t work within a mile of home? 

It costs you money because it uses a lot of energy 
Yes, you are actually incurring significant cost for controlling Legionella in an inefficient manner.  We explain how to work out that cost here.

It leaches heat into cold water pipes 
That is what happens when you run hot and cold water pipes near to each other.  And by the way – you are paying for that heat, so effectively you are spending money heating your cold water, just so that you then have the problem of warm cold water…. 

Don’t get us wrong, thermal treatment has it’s place in the control of Legionella, but in the 21st Century it certainly shouldn’t be the default methodology. 

Legionella Control The Aquadron Way? 
We can treat all of your water, all of the time, throughout all of your pipework with a cost-effective, legal, non-hazardous biocide. 

Aquadrons benefits are – 
  • Complete Legionella treatment – everywhere – all the time 
  • Biofilm removal 
  • Controls Legionella, Pseudomonas and other pathogens 
  • Non-hazardous biocide
  • Water temperature reduction – saves energy For effective Legionella Control 

The Aquaron really is a no brainer. Call us – 0333 772 0043 

Aquadron Legionella Prevention

Managing Legionella and treating your water is a pain.  The Aquadron takes this pain away.

What Does the Aquadron Do?
Put simply - the Aquadron disinfects all of the water, all of the time.  Hot water / cold water / grey water it can all be treated.  As all of the water is being treated then a thermal barrier is no longer needed, so temperatures can be lowered saving energy and reducing scald risk.

Why would this help me?
See our infographic below for the benefits that you would get - 
The Aquadron is quick, easy, safe and offers complete Legionella control.  If you want a Legionella prevention system then the Aquadron is for you.

The Cost of Legionella on Company Reputation

For most of our clients reputation damage is the biggest financial risk that is associated with an occurrence of Legionella (though there are also many others too).

What is Reputation Risk
 "Reputational risk, often called reputation risk, is a risk of loss resulting from damages to a firm's reputation, in lost revenue; increased operating, capital or regulatory costs; or destruction of shareholder value, consequent to an adverse or potentially criminal event even if the company is not found guilty".

 A company’s reputation is probably its most valuable asset. The loss of its reputation is a risk that is hard to put a quantitative number to or to voice in a business case. There is a great paper on this subject - The Impact of Reputation on market Value – by Simon Cole – this details the reputational risk issues and also how much some companies reputation affects the market capitalisation of the business.

The problem is that is hard to value your current reputation and therefore account for what a bad reputation would do to the business – there are a few surveys out there that estimate that around 75% of a companies value is from intangibles whilst other surveys estimate that brand and reputation account for 40% of a companies value. 

For some types of companies such as food and beverage companies this value may well be in excess of 75% of the company's market value.

Examples of reputational risk can be found by looking at the recent problems that one of the world’s leading mobile telephone companies has encountered along with one of Germany’s leading car manufacturers (we won't name anyone).

So whilst we can’t tell you an exact value for reputational risk we would urge clients to consider whether a Legionella issue at your site could affect - 
  • Investors / shareholders investing in the business.
  • Lenders still lending or withdrawing credit lines and the consequential affect on the cost of capital.
  • The loss of key employees.
  • The loss of clients.
  • Make it harder to win new business/clients.
If you answer yes to any of the above, you should probably ask yourself....

Can you or your business afford to take this risk?

We provide an effective solution to managing the risk of Legionella. We are not Legionella Risk Assessors/Auditors. What we do is we treat water (both hot and cold) to control legionella by eradicating bacteria, viruses, fungi and biofilm. In many instances we work on sites that have elevated Legionella counts.  Despite our clients following all the recognised protocols they may still experience elevated Legionella counts.  this is where we have stepped in and provided a solution that has rectified this problem.

Biocide Directive Compliance

Here is what the HSE says about the Biocide Directive - 

In accordance with Article 95 of the EU Biocides Regulation it is a requirement that either the active substance supplier, or if necessary the biocidal product supplier, appear on the Article 95 list. They gain entry to the list by submitting to ECHA either an active substance dossier or a letter of access to such a dossier. Those organisations that have already complied with this requirement appear in ECHA's list of active substance suppliers. If your supplier is not on the list then we suggest you contact them and enquire about their intentions with regard to Article 95. If your active substance supplier does not intend to comply with Article 95 then you may have to consider switching to an alternative source that is included on the Article 95 list, or applying for entry to the list yourself as a product supplier. Biocidal products containing active substances from suppliers that fail to be included on the Article 95 list cannot be made available on the EU market as of 1 September 2015.

However, it is interesting to note that there really aren't that many biocides listed - indeed at last count there were only five chlorine dioxide systems listed.  From our interpretation of the above statement that means that anything not listed can't be sold in the UK.....

We have a more detailed article here
Or you can access the Article 95 List here

(And, yes, we are listed!)

Heat Loss From Hot Water Systems

We have a few technical papers regarding heat loss from hot water pipe systems, but we thought that a simple explanation may be useful.

Starting at the very beginning with basic thermodynamics - Two bodies in thermal contact will change their temperature until they are at the same temperature. In the process of reaching thermal equilibrium, heat is transferred from one body to the other.

To put this in context - In commercial hot water systems we heat water in a calorifier or boiler typically to 60+ degrees to prevent Legionella, and then we pump it around the building so that hot water is instantly available at all of the taps. This happens 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The pipes pass around the building through areas where the ambient temperature is significantly lower than the water temperature in the pipework – typically we assume that temperatures average around 21 degrees within office buildings, around 23 degrees in carehomes and lower in places where manual work is carried out. For pipes in loft spaces the temperature obviously varies seasonally between freezing and 30 degrees.

In all of these scenarios the water pipes have a higher temperature than the surrounding air and thus the temperatures start to equilibriate. Lagging on pipework insulates this action, but loss still occurs (put your hand on some lagging in the winter and it will be warm).

So how much heat is lost?
It is very easy to assess the heat loss – you simply measure the heat in the water leaving the calorifier and the heat in the water that returns to the calorifier.  Typically the water may leave at 60 degrees and return at say 57 degrees i.e. it has lost 3 degrees. The water returning to the system will then be re-heated and this is where the energy cost is incurred.

The amount of energy lost is therefore based on two variables – the amount of heat lost and the amount of water pumped around the circuit. So to work out the energy loss you simply multiply the volume of water pumped around per hour (in m3) x the heat loss x the specific heat capacity of water (1.16).

Worked example
5m3 pumped around per hour
3 degree temperature loss
5 x 3 x 1.16 = 17.4kWh per hour needs replacing.

 Assuming a boiler efficiency of 80% and a gas price of 2.5p per kWh the cost would be (17.4/0.8)x0.025 = £0.54 per hour or around £4,730 per annum. 

What does this have to do with Aquadron and Legionella Control? 
Good question. The answer is that the rate of heat loss is affected by the temperature differential – so if you can lower your water temperature the differential between that and the ambient temperature is less and heat loss occurs at a slower rate. The Aquadron allows water temperatures to be lowered and thus reduces the speed of energy loss. 

Legionella Control

Recently we have had a number of conversations regarding Legionella control at sites that have repeatedly had elevated Legionella counts.  Generally they are not outlandishly high, but they are enough to cause concern and ask management to as “what if….?”.

When asked how we deal with this our response is normally the same – “we provide constant low-level disinfection using Anolyte to inactivate the Legionella and remove the biofilm that harbours it”. The main advantage of this methodology is that all of the water and all of the pipework is treated, even the pipe-runs that are present after TMV’s – this adds a great degree of confidence for the client and allows us to offer our money-back guarantee.

Typically, when first treating Legionella contaminated pipework, we increase the dose that is applied. This allows for initial disinfection of the whole water system and reduces immediate risk. The dose that we use is governed by the state of the pipework and the quality of the water. 

We then measure the amount of Anolyte that reaches the outlets at various points in the building. Initially it is not unusual to see only trace amounts making it through to the taps, but over time the concentrations can be seen to increase and the dosing can be reduced to achieve a steady state of disinfection – one that is shown to achieve a 99.999% efficiency against Legionella and Pseudomonas.

Once the system has been thoroughly disinfected it is possible to start reducing the hot water temperature, which has significant cost saving implications - for more information please see our heat loss from hot water pipes article here.  Case studies are located here.

For more information on how we can help you to control Legionella and reduce energy costs please email us.

is your biocide legal?

It is possible that more than half of the water treatment biocides on the market in the UK are illegal – does that surprise you? … it certainly surprised us.......

Thermal Mixing Valves and Legionella Risk

We always have the same comment when people tell us that they use thermal control for Legionella – what happens after the Thermal Mixing Valve?.....read more

What is the aquadron?

The Aquadron is a piece of equipment that manufactures a safe, effective and cost efficient biocide......read more

Heat loss in hot water systems

As hot water is pumped around a pipe system it loses heat, this is replaced when the water returns to the boiler.......read more

WHat is legionella

Legionella are a group of water-borne, rod shaped bacteria that can cause.......read more

The aquadron iN beverage production

You guarantee flavour and quality in your products, we guarantee that it stays that way......read more

Biofilm

Biofilm, the route of microbial problems in water systems.......read more

What is Pseudomonas

Pseudomonas is an opportunistic human pathogen with a high resistance to antibiotics and an ability to survive where other bacteria can not ........read more

Water treatment techniques

A brief discussion of water treatment technologies for the control of Legionella and Pseudomonas.....read more

Aquadron vs anolyte biocide

The Aquadron produces the Anolyte, so the biocide is the same whether it comes from an Aquadron or whether it gets delivered in a drum.
The only difference is whether there is a capital cost or an operational cost - typically this depends on the volume of Anolyte that is needed - for water users over 7,500 litres a day then an Aquadron may make more financial sense.....read more
Guaranteed Disinfection
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