AEC's Water Hygiene Division provides you with a team of competent and trained consultants and engineers who have extensive experience in all sectors from residential to commercial and industrial premises.
We aim to help our customers understand their legal obligations, to implement safe operating measures and procedures and to manage and control risks so that they are safe in the knowledge that they will be fully compliant with the law.
AEC offer a range of water hygiene monitoring, test, inspection and maintenance services. The requirement for these services will normally be defined within the legionella risk assessment but these services can be tailored to each client's individual needs. A summary of the services offered by AEC is included below.
Temperature control is the primary method used in the UK to minimise legionella risk. It is critically important that hot and cold supply systems be maintained in the correct temperature ranges (below 20⁰C for cold water outlets and above 50⁰C for hot outlets). The advised monthly temperature checks are typically undertaken at sentinel points (near and far outlets) as well as other outlets typically identified in the legionella risk assessment. AEC can undertake these temperature checks either manually or remotely and interpret the results and act accordingly if action is warranted.
In most 'Domestic' hot and cold-water systems, shower heads are the most significant aerosol generating outlets and therefore are a major source of concern. Showerheads should be de-scaled, cleaned and disinfected quarterly and regularly checked for signs of scale or biofilm build-up. This is to prevent bacterial growth and deny Legionella bacteria the necessary habitat and nutrients required to survive and multiply.
Calorifiers (hot water cylinders) can be a significant risk area within a water system. The calorifiers can increase the rate of bacterial growth if their temperatures are not closely managed and can accumulate a significant build-up of sludge, rust and detritus at their base through normal operation. Larger calorifiers with access hatches should be physically cleaned on an annual basis in a similar way to cold water storage tanks. However, a large number of calorifiers do not have access hatches fitted and rely on draining the ‘sludge’ at the bottom of the cylinder through activation of a drain valve. This process is called a 'blow down'.
Outlets that are rarely used (often referred to as 'dead-legs') can result in stagnant water standing in the supply pipework where bacterial levels can increase significantly. Some of these are by design (e.g. safety showers, which we hope we don’t have to use!) but other are just outlets that we use rarely such as a distant outside tap. To prevent stagnation AEC can include outlet activations as part of a water hygiene programme of visits.
Water sampling is required on specific types of water system (e.g. industrial cooling systems, potable water storage tanks etc.) and can be an optional requirement on other systems if concerns are raised over the condition of that water system. AEC can undertake the sampling of water systems for a range of parameters including legionella, total bacterial count, coliforms, e-coli etc. as required. Analysis is to UKAS standards.
Thermostatic mixer valves (TMV's) are used commonly to blend hot and cold water supplies and deliver water to outlets at a safe temperature (typically 41⁰C to 43⁰C for hand washing). These are commonly applied for safety reasons and to prevent scalding, especially in areas where vulnerable or infirm persons are using the water supplies (e.g. sheltered accommodation, hospitals etc.). It is strongly recommended that TMV’s are serviced on an annual basis.
AEC can undertake the monitoring and dosing of closed water systems such as heating and chilling systems. This service is designed for system maintenance primarily and can increase water system efficiency and lifespan.
AEC can offer the sampling of cutting fluids to clients. This is partly for Legionella risk as the cutting fluids can harbour the legionella bacteria and create an aerosol during the use of lathes and other cutting equipment. However, this service is also required under the COSHH regulations as other microbiological agents can be present in cutting fluids (such as pseudomonas) that can result in skin and eye infections. Bacterial levels are typically monitored using dip slides that can identify the levels of bacterial activity and indicate when replacement/dosing of the fluids is required.