When business owners write their initial risk assessments they rarely consider the risk that water poses to their daily functioning. Even when they do take into account the risk of flood damage, etc. they often fail to address the potential causes of an internal flood or try to prevent such an event from happening. Another common problem that is often overlooked is the potential for microbial infections that can arise from contaminated water.
So what common types of damage does water do and how can it be prevented?
Limescale build-up leading to Corrosion
Limescale is a mineral deposit laid down by mineral-rich water as it passes through pipes and heating systems. Businesses that suffer with limescale deposits have what is known as ‘hard water’ and if left untreated smaller pipes can quickly become blocked or corroded. A corroded water pipe can easily develop a leak – leading to the possibility of a major flood. Corrosion can also contaminate drinking water, making it unsuitable for human consumption.
Hard water businesses need to use specific water treatment chemicals to soften the water that comes into their premises before it can cause a problem. This softening process stops the hard minerals i.e. calcium and magnesium, from sticking to the interior surface of water pipes and as a result limescale is kept to a minimum. In areas where the water is especially hard it is possible to treat the entire water system on a continuous basis with a water softening agent. This degree of treatment isn’t always needed though and it is often sufficient to treat water on a monthly basis.
Microbial Growth leading to disease or infection
One of the most common microbes known to thrive in water is the legionella bacterium. Although this microbe doesn’t exactly cause physical damage to a business’s premises it can cause untold damage to the health of employees and guests in the case of a hotel, spa, health resort, etc.
The legionella bacterium multiplies rapidly in warm water conditions and lives off other non-harmful microbes that are frequently found in domestic water supplies. In other words, taps, hotel kitchen spray heads, shower heads, saunas, swimming pools and even drinking fountains offer the perfect breeding ground for the bacteria, and if contracted, Legionnaires Disease can quickly become fatal.
The risk of Legionnaires Disease can be reduced dramatically by using a water treatment chemical known as chlorine dioxide. Again this can either be used on a continuous basis or added to the water supply on a regular basis. Either way, it is one of the most potent water treatment chemicals with microbicide effects that doesn’t taint the water it treats.
When it comes to running a business you need to do everything you can to keep your premises and your employees/clients safe. Water is often greatly underestimated when it comes to the damage it can cause, but with the right water treatment chemicals its potentially damaging effects can be easily kept at bay.