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5 Ways to Avoid Process Water Contamination

Water main breaks are common pathways for microbial contamination into our water source. Each year, over 240,000 municipal water main breaks occur the United States. This statistic is especially alarming for the food and beverage industries that depend on clean water for a safe processing environment.

How Real is the Risk of Contamination?

In order to keep up with growing populations and aging infrastructures, municipalities are faced with the challenge of making costly upgrades and repairs (with little resources, none of the less) to their drinking water distribution systems. Common sources of contamination include both:

  • Water main repairs and
  • New water main installations.

Although Microbial contamination is more prevalent than chemical contamination during main break repairs, Food and Beverage manufacturers should pay close attention to both chemical and microbial contamination risks.

With aging infrastructures on the rise, the threat of a water main break upstream from your processing facility is real. On average, there is one water main break annually for every four miles of piping in the distribution network according to the American Water Works Association. Contamination during a main break could have a devastating impact on food, beverage, and other sanitary manufacturer’s customer base and brand.

Avoid the Risk of Contamination

There are steps you can take today to avoid the risk of water source contamination.

1. Develop a relationship with the local municipality in your area. Be proactive and ask for high priority notification when water main breaks happen that may impact your facility.

  • The Revised Total Coliform Rule (2013) has reduced notification requirements on Coliform positive samples detected in the drinking water distribution network. So, it’s up to you to ask!

2. Ask your local municipality for increased microbial and chemical testing at a sampling point close to the entry point of your manufacturing facility

3. Think about adding online instrumentation to monitor key water quality parameters for the water entering your processing facility. Consider monitoring turbidity, chlorine, and more.

4. Perform regular sampling of incoming water for critical microbial and chemical contaminants.

5. Capture and inactivate contaminants that may enter your facility by adding water treatment barriers such as filtration, RO, and UV.

  • Treat all incoming water used as process or ingredient water with these barriers. For example, during a main break if not treated, water used for CIP final rinses could introduce dangerous contaminants into your process.
  • UV is often used as a firewall and sufficient stand-alone barrier to eliminate the microbial risks associated with a main break or other means of contamination in the municipal water distribution network.
  • Check with filtration equipment suppliers to find out the types of microorganisms which their equipment is effective against, as well as what guaranteed level of performance is being provided.

With the risk of process water contamination through municipal main breaks, you can’t afford not to protect your brand and your end user. Recent regulations have created some additional challenges, but protection against potential contamination is definitely possible. Learn more about Rodem’s UV equipment to find out how you can eliminate microbial risks associated with main breaks and other contaminations.

Have specific questions about how to avoid the risk of contamination in your facility? Ask us today!

Special thanks to our partner Aquionics for providing the information for this article.

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