Safe Water Systems After Returning To Work
With many buildings standing empty or underused whilst people were working from home, the risk to the safety of water systems is higher than usual and building managers should be aware of the hazards that may have developed in the water and cooling systems. Water is flushed through the systems consistently when buildings are constantly used, however when left standing for long periods of time, bacteria can grow and increase risks of disease.
Legionnaire’s disease is the most common and significant illness that could develop. A form of pneumonia and potentially fatal, legionella should be tested for if there are any concerns over the safety of the water. Hospitalisation is typically required to treat symptoms of legionnaire’s so the impact on people could be severe.
Cold weather can affect the safety of water systems. Building owners should be conscious of the risks of frozen pipes if a building is left unused and is not heated whilst the weather goes through a particularly cold spell. Frozen pipes can lead to water damage, leaks, and growth of mould, amongst other things, which could all cost a lot to repair.
Wastewater systems and storage tanks have risks of potential infestations and bacteria growth when left unused for long periods of time. It is important to check everything is hygienic and safe for use when returning. Check that water trap seals are still tight and fitting, so no bacteria or insects find their way back up into the building.
In older buildings that have lead in water pipes and fittings, small amounts of lead can dissolve into water if left sitting for long periods of time. Ingesting lead contaminated water can have severe and lasting effects on a person’s health so it’s important to be aware.
Checking for leaks and repairing any at an early stage can reduce further damage down the line. Leaks can be destructive and costly so returning to a building is a good opportunity to make sure everything is functioning properly.
Blocked drains can be caused by many different things such as food preparation, build-up of hair or leaves, to name a few, and can lead to flooding or overflowing sewers. Ensure water flows through the system freely and nothing is disposed of into the water system that shouldn’t be.
If you’re looking for work in the water industry or require any water hygienists, then get in touch with our Environmental team!