The Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors recently warned landlords, property owners and employers about the potential increased risk of Legionella as a result of the lockdown measures against COVID-19. This is because, with many properties being closed for a significant period of time, water tanks and plumbing systems are going unused. When stagnant, water is prone to microbiological contamination and poses a significant risk to building occupants on their return, if not treated correctly
Microbiological contamination includes algae and bacteria such as pseudomonas and Legionella – and these can cause serious health issues if they enter the human body. For example, if inhaled (usually from water droplets dispersed from outlets such as taps, showers, hot tubs and air-conditioning units), Legionella bacterium can cause Legionnaires’ disease, a serious and potentially fatal type of pneumonia
In order to prevent this and protect occupants, building owners should contact their maintenance company or plumbing and heating contractor to address the issue and properly treat the water. This can be done easily using Sterox tablets or Fernox LP Sterox.
Sterox tablets work to disinfect both hot and cold water systems by chlorinating the water and preventing bacteria from forming. The tablets are available as a pack of 15 as part of a test kit (that can carry out 50 tests). To ensure that the water is properly disinfected, you need to check that the correct quantity of Sterox tablets are used for each application – otherwise, the water could still become contaminated. Two Sterox tablets will be suitable to treat 225-litres of water – and provide the required 50mg/L of free chlorine
Once the tablets have dissolved and the chlorinated water isreleased into the system, it is important to flush out the chlorinated water and refill with fresh water at least three times. The test tablets should then be used to ensure that the chlorine level is no greater than that of the incoming mains water. Although free chlorine is not harmful, it can leave an unpleasant taste in the water.
Alternatively, for a faster dosing process, you can also use Fernox LP Sterox, which is a silver stabilised hydrogen peroxide. To dose, simply add the required amount of LP Sterox to the tank and circulate the chemical throughout the whole system by running all hot and cold water outlets. After one minute, you should check the water at each outlet using the LP Sterox indicator strip. When all outlets have achieved 100ppm, the treatment is complete, and the water can be used as normal. Each 1L bottle is suitable to treat a 400-litre system, which should not be used for 24 hours after application – or a 300-litre system during normal use
Pandemic or not, it is vital that action is taken to prevent microbiological contamination and ensure that, when building occupants return, they are not at risk of illness. With Sterox tablets and LP Sterox, this can be easily achieved.