Water Hygiene for Businesses

Posted on Jul 22, 2013

The single most important resource for sustaining ecosystems, supporting life and consequently a major determinant of economic and general well being is undeniably water. Water has innumerable uses, but the most significant ones impacting health and well being are

Water is a natural solvent and quickly absorbs undesirable gases and mineral impurities as it falls through the atmosphere and as it makes its way into streams and rivers.

Nearly all water supplies used for commercial and industrial applications need some nature of treatment and monitoring to ensure water hygiene and fitment for industrial or commercial applications even after extensive pretreatment of equipment.

Steps in Ensuring Water Hygiene include

  • Water Cleanliness and Disinfection Process
  • Water Quality Control
  • Microbiological Control

Water Hygiene in commercial and residential blocks generally covers inspection and treatment of the following systems

  • Cold water storage tanks
  • Cooling towers
  • Evaporative condensers
  • Domestic water tanks/ systems
  • Calorifiers and water heaters
  • Air handling units
  • System pipework

While checking building systems for water hygiene, following factors need to be kept in mind:-

Ensuring an effective water hygiene process might entail refurbishment of cold water storage tanks and down water systems to cover re-coating, rodent/ insect screen installation of rodent/ insect, pipe work re-configuration to avoid water stagnation, new lids and vents fitment and complete tank replacements to meet regulatory standards laid out in the Water Research Council guidance and Water Supply Regulations.

Application of Water Hygiene process covers the following:

  • Regular cold and hot water dosing in buildings.
  • Cooling tower water maintenance
  • High intensity disinfection for hydrotherapy pools and ancillary services within hospitals.
  • Eradication of white water mould and pink slime in swimming pools, as well as removal of biofilm build-up from tanks and filters
  • Elimination micro organism fouling in water softeners.
  • Treatment of bacteria in recycling water.
  • Prevent growth of slime and odour causing bacteria and fungi within ice making machines.
  • Product washing and system disinfection throughout the food industry.
  • Disinfection and neutralisation as a part of C.I.P systems.

Nowadays, chlorine dioxide is extensively used for a range of water treatment processes primarily to prevent or stop microbial growth. Its intense popularity in water treatment stems from its properties

Ensuring water hygiene is no longer an option, it is mandatory both under law as well as for your own health and the smooth operation of your water systems.

Air Hygiene – A Pressing Need

Posted on Jul 16, 2013

Air and Water, needless to say are basic conditions for life and existence. Water pollution and its effects have been the subject of scientific research for quite some time for a significant reduction in waste disposal in water bodies and technologies for ensuring purified water for human consumption. However, air pollution and its negative impact on health have only recently bought air hygiene into focus.

Pure, clean air can be defined as natural atmosphere minus any particulate matter and detrimental gases. Air is a mixture of gases and other matter in varying composition which includes oxygen, carbon dioxide, water vapour, soil, sand, smoke, coal, dust, fly ash particles, oil mist, gases, fumes, odors, paint, pollen, tobacco smoke and bacteria among many others. The sheer number of particulate matter present in air makes it the single biggest constituent both in terms of number and weight. Even in areas with professionally clean air, the number of particulate matter can be as high as 2 to 3 million particles per cubic ft, while in industrial areas it is known to even exceed 30 million particles per cubic ft. Particulate matter generally consists of dust, smoke, soil, sand, coal, fly ash bacteria, industrial debris and pollen. Gaseous pollutants in air are not as visible, but have a more damaging effect on health and environment. Removing them is also more difficult and cumbersome as it is hard to locate the source for successful control and elimination. Hydrocarbons, peroxides and oxides of nitrogen are some of the polluting gases often found in air, especially in industrial areas.

Advancements in medical science has led to availability of any number of medicines for treating viral infections and allergies. However prevention is only possible by ensuring clean air through elimination of organisms causing airborne diseases. Removing contaminants from air supply systems in buildings has positive impact both on health and economic well being, enough to justify the additional cost of operating and maintaining an air filter system. Some of the advantages are listed belowimage

Strainer type filters and water sprays, which are neither very costly nor cumbersome to install and operate can work to reduce a good majority of the weightier particulate matter from the air, but the smaller particulate matter and the rest of the pollutants continue to remain.

Electronic air cleaners or Absolute air filters have the capability to provide high quality air filtration and air hygiene removing both big and small particulate matter as well as bacteria but they are expensive and need maintenance. Electronic air filters work by using a high voltage charge and capturing the dust particles and removing them on electrically charged plates . They are widely used in commercial and residential establishments. Absolute air filters are more widely used in industrial establishments.

Air hygiene, if not paid sufficient attention to, can have far reaching public health and environmental problems ranging from global warming, acid rain, and the deterioration of the ozone layer being a few of them. As they say, better safe than sorry.

Basics of Cooling Tower Treatment

Posted on Jul 16, 2013

A Cooling tower is a heat rejection device, which works to cool water stream to a lower temperature ultimately emitting waste heat into the atmosphere. An evaporative technique is used in which a small water portion is cooled and evaporated into an air stream and subsequently discharged thereby cooling the rest of the water stream significantly. They are more cost and energy efficient than dry heat rejection devices like a car radiator and hence more widely used in large cooling applications.

Air conditioning systems, electric power generation units and manufacturing establishments typically employ cooling towers for providing cooled water to run equipment.

The major issues associated with cooling tower treatment and water treatment include:


Cooling water systems are an ideal environment for the metal to reverse to its the original oxide state. This process of reversal is referred to as, corrosion.


Minerals such as calcium carbonate, calcium phosphate, and magnesium silicate form scale deposits when exposed to conditions commonly found in cooling water systems.


The deposition of suspended material in heat exchange equipment is called fouling.


Cooling water systems provide an ideal environment for microbial organisms to grow & multiply.

Each of these conditions have their own share of problems.

Additionally they cause:

  • Increased maintenance cost
  • Frequent shutdowns
  • Increased energy consumption & fuel costs

It is imperative to understand the nature & type of cooling tower to be able to provide the best water treatment solution tailored to the needs.

Depending on the cooling tower & the water characteristic, a chemical or mechanical process may be employed to treat water. In the chemical method, a range of corrosion and scale inhibitors are selected to match the water chemistry, system metallurgy and operating conditions in order to provide maximum protection. Sulfuric, Hydrochloric, or Ascorbic acid, when added to recirculating water, can improve the efficiency of a cooling system by controlling the scale buildup . Acid treatment lowers the pH of the water and hence prevents scale formation.

The mechanical method involves using a variety strainers, filters, and centrifugal separators. Physical removal of particulate matter ensures the microbial activity is reduced.

Monitoring is an important aspect of any water treatment program. Through proper and continuous monitoring, the effectiveness of the programme can be determined. Also it will help determine the optimum level of treatment.

Monitoring largely serves two basic purposes:

  • To continuously check the condition of the operational equipment
  • To relate the condition to variables such as PH level, water quality etc

Cooling tower treatment is important, it’s recommended you apply preventative maintenance.

Water Hygiene

Posted on Jul 16, 2013

The single most important resource for sustaining ecosystems, supporting life and consequently a major determinant of economic and general well-being is undeniably water. Water has innumerable uses, but the most significant ones impacting health and well being are

Our body typically needs more water when

  • The climate is hot
  • Physical activity has been high
  • Suffering from fever or generally unwell
  • Suffering from diarrhea or vomiting

Behavioral habits linked to cleanliness like regular hand washing, bathing and washing your face are good Water Hygiene practices. Diseases spread very fast if care is not taken to wash your hands, face or body regularly. Non-availability of clean water is a major cause of death in many under developed regions and research suggests that diarrhea related deaths could be reduced by as much as 50% merely by ensuring hands are washed regularly with soap and clean water. Food borne diseases can also be avoided by practicing good hygiene habits. Also following good hygiene habits can help to stop the spread of infectious diseases like common cold as well as gastrointestinal diseases.

There are a variety of sources for supply of Drinking water like public water systems, wells, or simply bottled water. An improved water source is typically considered as water which is supplied through a household connection, public standpipe, bore hole well, protected dug well, protected spring, or rainwater collection.

Knowing the source of the drinking water and whether it has been treated to make it clean and safe for drinking is of paramount importance. Ground water wells were typically the source of safe, clean water, but if not maintained and cleaned regularly can lead to contamination and illness.

Drinking enough fluids is the key to a healthy body as the body meets 80% of its fluid requirements through drinking water and beverages.

Unfortunately contaminated water is threatening entire ecosystems and is emerging as a major cause of illness and death, a result of increase in population, rapid urbanization and industrialization, reduction in land cover and effects of climate change. Urgent measures are needed to ensure clean and safe water availability around the world to restore ecological balance and save millions of livelihoods.

Legionnaires’ Disease – Essential Facts

Posted on Jul 16, 2013

Legionnaires’ disease is a rare serious infection of the lungs caused by breathing in water contaminated with the Legionella bacteria and can be fatal if not treated in time. Pontiac fever is another milder flu like illness caused by the same Legionella bacteria.

Legionella bacteria breeds and multiplies rapidly in warm stagnating water with temperatures ranging from 25° and 45°C, 35°C being optimum for its breeding. It is not possible to catch Legionnaires disease from an infected person or from drinking contaminated water; it can only be contracted by breathing in water contaminated with legionella bacteria.

Sources of Legionnaires’ disease can be any place with stagnating warm water like

While it is possible for anyone to be infected with legionnaires diseases, the chances of developing it increase substantially if you are already suffering from poor health.

People more at risk of contracting Legionnaires’ disease include:

  • People suffering from asthma and other lung diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer.
  • People with kidney or heart problems
  • People with alcohol addiction
  • Smokers
  • Cancer patients, especially lung cancer or leukemia.
  • People suffering from conditions reducing body’s ability to fight infections like
    • Diabetes
    • HIV or AIDS
    • Immunosuppressant medication.

People suffering from Legionella disease will start showing symptoms 2-10 days after being infected; average period of incubation is 2-10 days. Cough, high temperature, sweating and shivering and general feeling of uneasiness are the first symptoms along with headaches and body aches. Yellow or green sputum with blood stains is another sign. The infection spreads fast through the lungs causing breathlessness and chest tightness leading to pneumonia. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and loss of appetite are some of the other symptoms and if not treated in time can cause complications of heart, brain or kidney or blood.

Antibiotics, either one or in combination, need to be given usually intravenously for treating Legionella disease generally for 10-14 days. Oxygen and IV fluids are often given to prevent stress on lungs and to keep the body well hydrated. In cases of severe pneumonia assisted ventilation might be required.

UK & many other countries have framed regulations on water supplies and air conditioning systems in big buildings to minimize risk of infection from Legionella bacteria or any other water or air borne bacteria. Complete eradication is however not possible but personal hygiene will go a long way in preventing infections.
It is essential that a water hygiene risk assessment be conducted by a specialist & necessary water treatments be designed to ensure that the risk of breeding of the bacteria is fully annihilated.

Quick Facts on Chemical Cleaning

Posted on Jul 16, 2013

Chemical cleaning, considered one of the most effective methods of cleaning, is essentially a process to cleanse internal surfaces and walls of equipment, pipelines, vessels, kettles and heat exchangers of deposits or unwanted contaminants accumulated over a period of time.

Newly built systems require chemical cleaning to ensure that excess deposition such as grease, slag and residual contamination do not damage machinery or contaminate the product. Piping systems already in service also need to undergo chemical cleaning to remove scaling and contaminants deposited on the inner surface and walls which affect the flow of water or heat.

The hard dense scales are generally the result of deposit of calcium, magnesium or silicon, which act as insulators to elevate the temperature of the equipment beyond the design permit limit leading to operational failure due to overheating. Soft porous deposits on the other hand concentrate solids dissolved in water to an excessive level leading to internal corrosion of the equipment.

Chemical cleaning is required as part of preventive maintenance to avoid failures and breakdown in equipment and machinery due to deposits built over time. Several factors need to be considered before deciding on the chemical cleaning method to be used.

Chemical cleaning of pre commissioned systems refers to removal of contaminated deposits like miliscale and construction debris from new pipe work installations in heating as well as cooling water systems. It is now a mandated requirement in new plant installations for chemical cleaning to be undertaken before commissioning to achieve maximum efficiency.

Chemical cleaning for existing installations however needs to be customized and undertaken as per specific client needs. It might be necessary in such cases to keep undertaking cleaning in parts while ensuring existing heating and cooling systems are operational so that normal business is not interrupted. Conducting chemical cleaning in parts while keeping systems operational generally requires a higher level of expertise.

Chemical cleaning methods can be of the following kinds

  • Inhibited Acid Cleaning is the use of acidic solution of low concentration to remove scales and oxides from the insides of pipe surfaces of systems like boilers, cooling towers and condensers. Inhibited hydrochloric acid as well as ammoniated citric acid is mostly used as they contain chemicals that form a protective film over the pipe work preventing further corrosion.
  • Polymer Cleaning is the breaking down of deposits on pipe work into smaller particles which can then be flushed down into the drain by chemicals.
  • Biocide Wash is essentially preventive chemical cleaning to control the spread of bacteria and biofilms both in new and existing pipe work. Chlorine dioxide, for instance is particularly effective in treating Pseudamonas and Legionella.

Water Treatment – A Quick guide

Posted on Jul 16, 2013

Water Treatment can be defined as a process of eradicating harmful chemicals, suspended solids and any other contaminants to ensure water is fit for human consumption. As per a recent report, more than 780 million people worldwide do not have access to clean drinking water making water borne diseases and more particularly diarrhea the biggest killer in underdeveloped countries.

Water is an excellent solvent and this property renders it vulnerable to contamination from various sources.

Rapid and unplanned urbanization and industrialization is increasingly resulting in contamination of water sources. There is need for deployment of advanced technologies with capacity for large scale water treatment. Affordable water treatment techniques are a must since water contamination causes water borne diseases which are reported mostly from the underdeveloped and developing countries.

Water treatment nowadays is very widely used to ensure clean water, not only for drinking but a host of other applications. Water treatment can involve any or all of the processes of Filtration and distillation, chemical treatment by way of chlorination and ultra violet or UV technology as well as sand filtering. The choice of treatment depends on the quality of water to be treated and the end user application of water. Ground water is generally of higher quality and requires lesser treatment than water originating from lakes, rivers and streams.

Water Treatment basically involves the following steps

  • Coagulation is the first step in the process and the purpose is to get rid of dirt and other suspended particles in water. Water is treated with chemicals like Alum etc which form sticky particles called floc. Floc attracts the dirt pieces which stick to it like magnet and their combined weight settles at the bottom of the water.
  • Floc along with dirt is then be removed by Sedimentation. The clear water goes ahead for filtration.
  • Filters made of layers of sand; gravel and charcoal are used to remove smaller suspended particles from water. Filtration can be done in various ways, some of the common ones being:
    • Coarse filtration or particle filtration is done by using a wide range of material from a 1 mm sand filter to even a 1 micron cartridge filter.
    • Micro filtration is done to remove bacteria by using 1 to 0.1 micron devices, typically used in the brewing process.
    • Ultra filtration helps remove pyrogens, endotoxins, DNA and RNA fragments.
    • Reverse osmosis is the most technologically advanced filtration technique mechanism with capability to separate molecular sized particles by using a porous material.
  • Distillation is done to get rid of bacteria and other microorganisms present in water by adding small amounts of chlorine or any other disinfection.

Water is then stored in a closed tank or reservoir to give sufficient time for disinfection to happen. Once disinfection is complete, it is released for to be used consumed either domestically or commercially.

It is difficult to standardize a common solution to treat water. The selection of the treatment process depends upon both the source of water as well as the season in which the treatment is to be undertaken.

Coil clean

Posted on Jul 06, 2013

Coil Clean is a powerful sanitizing detergent for the cleaning of cooling coils. Cooling coils should be cleared regularly to avoid dirt build up, which will contribute to poor heat transfer and poor indoor quality.


Posted on Jul 06, 2013

HA61 is a proven Legionella treatment which removes the need for the use of two products when de-scaling and sterilising terminal fittings. HA61 is the product for routine maintenance of domestic water fittings such as showerheads.

Contractorplus accreditation scheme

Posted on Jul 06, 2013

Howlett Associates are proud to announce the achievement of gaining registration to the Contractorplus accreditation scheme operated by Safety Management and Monitoring Services Ltd. This will therefore add an extra measurement of reassurance to all of those with whom we deal in the knowledge that our own Health & Safety procedures have passed yet another rigorous vetting system.