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The Impact of Poorly Managed Water Systems 

26 October 2022

The Impact of Poorly Managed Water Systems

If you are the employer or person in control of a site that has man made water storage, you are legally required to take proactive measures to ensure the water system is managed properly and the water is kept safe.

Poorly managed systems often lead to water contaminated with dangerous bacteria, such as legionella. A Legionnaires’ disease outbreak would prove disastrous for your organisation, causing potential serious harm to everyone inside your building and irreparably damaging your reputation.

In this article, our water hygiene experts discuss the effects of a poorly managed water system, as well as what measures you can take to mitigate your risk.

What are the impacts of a poorly managed water system?

Increased risk of infection

As a responsible person or duty holder, you are legally responsible for the health and safety of the people on your premises, whether they are employees, tenants or patients.  

Poorly maintained water systems often harbour Legionella pneumophila bacteria, as it thrives where water is stagnant. This bacterium causes the potentially fatal lung infection, Legionnaires’ disease.

If you don’t manage your water system properly, the people living and working in your building(s) may well come into contact with these bacteria through water vapour (usually from hot taps or shower heads). 

Legionnaires’ disease has a roughly 10% mortality rate, so it’s far too much of a risk to take. 

Damage to your reputation

As you might expect, a Legionnaires’ outbreak will cause a significant dent in your organisation’s reputation, especially if your business is in the health, catering or hospitality sector. 

All it takes is a single outbreak to tarnish your reputation for years, even decades.

While, yes, a water treatment programme will recover the condition of your water systems and kill any legionella bacteria, it can do nothing to build your reputation back up. 

Prevention, as always, is better than cure.

Legal costs 

Proactive and regular water maintenance is strongly encouraged by ACOP L8 regulation. 

This means that if it’s found that your water systems have been improperly managed, you may be liable for fines and, potentially, prosecution. 

Not to mention the potential lawsuits you’d have on your hands from people who contracted Legionnaires’ disease in your building. 

Expensive remedial works

Once your water is contaminated, you will have to pay the cost of having your entire water system cleaned, your water treated, and you’ll need a thorough risk assessment to identify any other potential issues.

It is far more cost-effective to take regular, proactive preventative measures to ensure that your water is not contaminated in the first place. 

We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again – prevention is better than cure!

What can you do to protect your business? 

The best way to ensure the success of your business is not affected due to a poorly managed water system is, as mentioned, to be proactive.  

Here are 2 proactive measures you can take to ensure your business is protected against the risks of legionella outbreak.

Legionella risk assessment

Water hygiene specialists carry out a thorough and professional assessment of your water systems to determine where there might be a risk of potential contamination or any vulnerabilities in your system, such as corroded pipework. 

Once this assessment is complete your water hygiene company will be able to provide tailored advice and carry out the necessary treatments to prevent contamination and ensure your water systems are safe. 

Not only this, but you’ll be delivered a detailed schematic of your water system, allowing you a look behind the scenes that will help immeasurably in your ongoing water maintenance.

Click here to book your legionella risk assessment. The sooner you get it booked, the sooner you can rest easy knowing your water is in safe hands. 

Water treatments 

The assessment may reveal that water treatment is necessary to ensure your water is safe and clean as well as to prevent any further risk. Water treatment is a process that cleans and disinfects your pipework and storage tanks to prevent the excessive growth of bacteria, especially ones that feed on scum or corrosion. 

Water treatments include: 

  • Water disinfection 
  • Water tank chlorination 

Water hygiene services, risk assessments and more from H2O Hygiene 

Don’t let poor water hygiene stop you in your tracks. 

At H2O Hygiene, we understand the effect a badly managed water system can have on a business. We work with businesses across the UK, providing bespoke legionella risk assessments and highly effective remedial works. 

Our clients’ water is safe in our hands – want yours to be the same? Then don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our helpful and friendly experts today. We’re on hand to answer any questions you might have and provide fully tailored advice based on your unique water system. 

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