The treatment of water in order to eliminate waterborne pathogens, including legionella, is wrought with challenges. For example, when legionella and other pathogens are suspended in water, they can be eliminated easily through the use of disinfectants. However, in addition to their presence in free-flowing water, both pathogenic and non-pathogenic bacteria form biofilms on the interior walls of tanks, pipes and other water distribution equipment. Common disinfectants have had only limited success in eliminating biofilms when used on their own. Some of the disinfectants used include:
- Chlorine – Even though chlorine is a very powerful disinfectant, it may not totally eliminate biofilms even when utilized in high concentrations.
- Shock thermal treatment – When shock thermal treatment is used at temperatures above 70 degrees Celsius for several hours, temporary success is achieved.
- Copper/silver – When properly managed, copper and silver have been moderately effective at removing pathogens.
- Ozone/UV – These strategies are somewhat effective in recirculating systems only and cannot address established biofilms where the bacteria are already harbored.
- Chlorine dioxide – Chlorine dioxide is somewhat effective, but not in hot water systems or far plumbing reaches. New research indicates that low-doses of chlorine dioxide actually promote biofilm growth.
- Chloramine – Although less powerful than chlorine, chloramine has been successful at reducing legionella counts in plumbing systems. Chloramine has also been known to be a health risk.
In short, no one method has been completely effective when used on its own. However, facilities can increase the effectiveness of pathogen elimination by using a combination of techniques. Unless a facility addresses the deposits in pipes and low flow in “dead legs” present in all facility distribution systems, water-borne bacteria such as legionella are thriving and simply wait for a disruption of the biofilm or scale to break loose and spread.
Many municipalities and facilities are turning a CLEARITAS TREATMENT PROGRAM to eliminate the damaging and unhealthy effects of films, deposits and residues within their water systems. When used in conjunction with a primary disinfectant, Clearitas effectively penetrates and removes the protective layers of organic matter and deposits used by biofilm to protect their microbial inhabitants. Clearitas works by attacking the “organic glue” that holds biofilm together and its adherence to surfaces. Clearitas enables primary disinfectants greater access to the microbes they kill thereby improving their effectiveness and ability to deliver water that is safer. cleaner. better.®