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Building Products April 2017

HOTELS, LEISURE AND HEALTHCARE While many of us enjoy a dip in the pool or trip to the spa, most do not appreciate the smell and sometimes, irritation that chlorine can cause. But, as this chemical is so essential to water hygiene, is there any other option? Steven Booth highlights some alternatives. L eisure facilities and Legionella have APRIL 2017 | BUILDING PRODUCTS 13 unfortunately been synonymous with each other – the first known outbreak was traced back to a Philadelphia Hotel in 1976, resulting in 130 hospitalisations and 25 fatalities. With swimming pools, spas and Jacuzzis a regular fixture in these establishments, not to mention showers and misting devices, the leisure industry must ensure the measures it employs to protect staff and customers are robust and in-line with current legislation. Exceeding these standards can also be extremely beneficial, helping to improve the shelf-life and efficiency of water systems and treatment solutions, ultimately saving money in the long run. It is not just the obvious bodies of water that need to protect against legionella; cooling towers are the usual source of large-scale outbreaks of Legionnaire’s Disease and can serve to spread droplets of water across a considerable area. In fact, Britain’s worst ever outbreak, which killed seven people and affected 180 others, was caused by a cooling tower at the Forum 28 Arts and Leisure Centre in Barrow-in-Furness in August 2002. In this instance, negligence was blamed, with the basic steps to preventing the spread of waterborne bacteria largely ignored. Poor lines of communication, inadequate training and a failure to act on advice provided following a risk assessment were just some of the problems identified. While it is clear that legionella must be prevented, modern methods of water treatment mean that chlorine does not have to be relied on so heavily. Its distinctive smell and potential to cause irritation of the eyes and skin mean that, while effective, chlorine is not ideal; particularly in high-end establishments where customers increasingly expect service without compromise. For cooling towers, bromine is usually the chemical of choice, which again has its issues. Too much can cause corrosion, effecting the safe and efficient running of equipment. So, how do we prevent bacterial build-up without relying heavily on these chemicals? The first step should begin at the construction Continued on page 14 >>> CHEMICAL ATTACK


Building Products April 2017
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