Water Testing and Sampling

Cost-effective ways for determining and monitoring the ongoing quality of water

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What Is Water Testing?

Water Testing is the process used for analysing the constituents or microbial content of water. Depending on the environment, the requirement to test water mean that testing may have to be carried out routinely. What the water is to be tested for will depend upon the purpose of its intended use.

The bacterium Legionella pneumophila and related bacteria are common in natural water sources such as rivers, lakes and reservoirs, but usually in low numbers. They may also be found in purpose-built water systems, such as cooling towers, evaporative condensers, hot and cold water systems and spa pools. If conditions are favourable, the bacteria may multiply, increasing the risks of legionnaires’ disease, and it is therefore important to control the risks by introducing appropriate measures.

Legionella bacteria are widespread in natural water systems, eg rivers and ponds. However, the conditions are rarely conducive for people to catch the disease from these sources. Outbreaks of the illness occur from exposure to legionella growing in purpose-built systems where water is maintained at a temperature high enough to encourage growth.

Legionnaires’ disease is normally contracted by inhaling small droplets of water (aerosols), suspended in the air, containing the bacteria. Certain conditions increase the risk from legionella if: (a) the water temperature in all or some parts of the system may be between 20–45 °C, which is suitable for growth; (b) it is possible for water droplets to be produced and if so, they can be dispersed; (c) water is stored and/or re-circulated; (d) there are deposits that can support bacterial growth, such as rust, sludge, scale, organic matter and biofilms.

Water is generally tested for any of the following plus more:

· Lead

· Bacteria – Ecoli, Coliforms, Pseudomonas & Legionella

· Pesticides

· Volatile Organics

· Free Chlorine Residual

· Ph

· Nitrate and other metals

· Hardness

What Is Water Sampling?

Depending on the type of analysis, many tests can be conducted on site, however for some analysis, this may require for a sample to be taken. Water Sampling is the action of obtaining and transporting a sample of water for analysis.

When water sampling is undertaken for the analysis of Legionella, this must be done in accordance with British Standard BS7592. Samples must be taken in a sterile bottle container for the analysis of Legionella or microbial content. The bottle must also be treated with Sodium Thiosulphate which is used to be neutralise the effects of any residual chlorine within the sample.

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Why Is It Useful?

Water Sampling & Testing on a routine basis is one of the most cost-effective ways for determining and monitoring the ongoing quality of water at any location. It provides a simple way to demonstrate that the quality of water available is fit for purpose and ensures a proactive approach to maintaining health, safety and compliance in a building. It can also be used to ensure that the water in use is going to prolong the life expectancy of the water system.

What Are Potable Water Samples?

Potable water is water which is safe to use as drinking water. This is for both humans and animals. For water to be classified as ‘drinking water’ it must be tested and analysed for a number of routine microbiological and chemical components.

When Should You Test/Sample Water your water?

The requirement to test/sample your water can derive from a number of areas. For example, the frequency of testing and the types of tests for water used within commercial swimming pools and hot tubs is determined by legislation and guidance such as HSH282.

The testing/sampling of private supply water may be required because of the sale/purchase of a property.

The testing/sampling for drinking quality of water within an office building may be required because the drinking supply is conveyed from a tank in accordance with BS8858:2015.

The testing/sampling for bacteria such as Pseudomonas or Legionella would be required because of the immune status of service users within a given healthcare environment or set out by organisations such as CQC (Care Quality Commission) in environments such as dental practice and nursing homes. It could be required following disinfection of a water system to prove the disinfection has been affective or where biocides are used as a control for pathogens, in accordance with HSG274 Part 2.

It is important that we are compliant with guidance and legislation in respect to the safety of health but it is also important from a perspective of cost that we are operating water systems that run in an efficient manner and we would often test water systems for their make up to ensure it is corrected where required.

If you have queries relating to your water systems and services, please contact us.

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How Are EMS Water Able To Help?

EMS Water are able to provide a flexible service in order to maintain ongoing, routine sampling process on your behalf.

In addition, EMS Water can also provide ad-hoc, one off sampling.

Our highly qualified water consultants are trained to take samples using aseptic techniques to minimise the risk of contamination to the sample to ensure minimisation of false results and peace of mind for you.

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