12 February 2019
By John Cove
Scotmas Alpha Installation Avoids Major Capital Expenditure
A leading private healthcare provider was faced with water hygiene challenges within a wing of a major facility. Due to poor pipework design, water temperatures could not be maintained <20°C at all times, leading to the proliferation of pseudomonas and associated legionella bacteria within the water system. Repeated “disinfection and cleans” of the pipework had been carried out previously, causing major disruption to the normal operation of the facility, however it was noted that bacteria had returned to the water system at the usual levels within just a matter of weeks.
- Bacterial levels within the water were of significant concern to infection control and water hygiene specialists, leading to potential closure of the wing due to patient risk.
- Major building works would have been required to remediate/replace the affected pipework.
- Water hygiene was being maintained adequately through temperature control elsewhere in the facility, meaning that there was no justification to treat the entire site water demand.
- Point of use filtration was being used within the affected wing as an interim measure, how this was a costly and disruptive solution, requiring regular maintenance and monitoring.
- There was no dedicated plant room available for the wing, which was supplied from a branch of the main water feed.
A Scotmas Alpha™ system was installed within a locked cleaners cupboard within the wing. The lockable chemical cabinet supplied with the Alpha™ system stored the 5 l chemical precursors securely from other staff using the room, and the compact wall mounted design of the Alpha™ did not affect available floorspace in the room. The ¾” water pipe feeding the wing was fed via the Alpha™ system which automatically dosed Chlorine Dioxide into the water feeding the wing, in compliance with WHO drinking water standards.
Chlorine dioxide dosing was noted to have an immediate effect on the growth of biofilm within the water pipework. Within a few weeks, total bacterial counts within the system had reduced to ¼ of their previous level, and within 2 months were of equivalent standard to those found elsewhere within the healthcare facility. Over this period, the Chlorine Dioxide was gradually breaking down the biofilm within the water pipework, removing the pseudomonas and other bacteria such as Legionella which can become embedded within.
As a result of the introduction of the Alpha™ system, it was possible to remove the requirement for point of use filtration, and to avoid the requirement for major capital expenditure on pipework alterations and/or whole site water treatment solutions. The remote access capabilities built into the Alpha™ system allowed for effective monitoring of water usage on the wing, along with regular manual testing of ChlorineDioxide residuals at tap outlets using an approved test kit.