To sample, or not to sample

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To sample, or not to sample

  1. 1. To Sample, or not toSample? - By Nemco Utilities (www.nemco-utilities.co.uk)
  2. 2. To Sample, or not to Sample?With the exception of high risk processes such as coolingtowers and evaporative condensers the issue of whether or notto take either routine samples, or at the point of riskassessment, from standard domestic water systems has beenand continues to be a topic of much debate. It is hoped that theupcoming British Standard for risk assessment will shed somelight, or at least some standardisation, on specificrequirements though early indications show this may not bethe case.It remains the case that there are no hard and fast rules precisely when and how often samples should be taken – if in doubt refer to the risk assessment or contact us at www.nemco-utilities.co.uk for assistance.
  3. 3. To Sample, or not to Sample?ACOP L8 (Approved Code of Practice for Legionnaire’sDisease) states that routine water sampling is not arequirement, except in the following circumstances;1. Where biocides are used and distribution temperatures are reduced2. Where control levels are not consistently achieved3. In an outbreak or suspected outbreak scenario4. In hospital wards with ‘at risk’ patientsIt remains the case that there are no hard and fast rules precisely when and how often samples should be taken – if in doubt refer to the risk assessment or contact us at www.nemco-utilities.co.uk for assistance.
  4. 4. To Sample, or not to Sample?Despite this a large number of organisations spend vastamounts of money on water sampling every year and in someinstances rely purely on test results with the absence of anyother control mechanisms. What we do know is that Legionellaare naturally occurring bacteria and in any given building if welook long enough and hard enough, and take enough samples,the bacteria will be found. In addition to this, simply taking afew samples and getting negative results does not mean thatwater is safe.It remains the case that there are no hard and fast rules precisely when and how often samples should be taken – if in doubt refer to the risk assessment or contact us at www.nemco-utilities.co.uk for assistance.
  5. 5. To Sample, or not to Sample?All that water sampling will tell us is if there are bacteria thereon that day at that point in time, they may subsequently beflushed away with the next use of the outlet, indeed themajority of positive samples relate simply to outletcontamination rather than a systemic problem with the watersystem. Is it then better to spend time and money managingthe conditions suitable for growth rather that testing to see ifthey are there or not?It remains the case that there are no hard and fast rules precisely when and how often samples should be taken – if in doubt refer to the risk assessment or contact us at www.nemco-utilities.co.uk for assistance.
  6. 6. To Sample, or not to Sample?Certainly processes deemed to be ‘high risk’ or those that meetthe chain of events should be subject to a regular water samplingregime such as paint plants and those domestic systems thathave proved problematic in the past. A good example being anelderly care home with old corroded pipework and a history ofpositive samples, this would certainly meet the criteria ofcontaining ‘at risk’ individuals and possibly not meeting thenecessary control levels as often older buildings cannot afford theinstallation of TMVs (blender valves) at all outlets meaning thattemperatures have to be reduced to prevent the creation of ascald risk – surely a case for water sampling?It remains the case that there are no hard and fast rules precisely when and how often samples should be taken – if in doubt refer to the risk assessment or contact us at www.nemco-utilities.co.uk for assistance.
  7. 7. Nemco Utilities LimitedAddress Email:Nemco Utilities Ltd  info@nemco-utilities.co.uk12 Kempson WayHillside Business Park  sales@nemco-utilities.co.ukBury St Edmunds  accounts@nemco-Suffolk utilities.co.ukIP32 7EA Website: http://www.nemco-Telephone: 01284 724503 utilities.co.uk/Fax No.: 01284 724826It remains the case that there are no hard and fast rules precisely when and how often samples should be taken – if in doubt refer to the risk assessment or contact us at www.nemco-utilities.co.uk for assistance.

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