Dangers of “Swimming Pool Type” Copper Silver ionisation to control Legionella in Potable Water Pipes.
July 28, 2013
New York, NY | With ASHRAE 188P Legionella prevention standard just around the corner, industry professionals who have experience with copper-silver ionisation will be the first to tell you that many facility owners, managers and consultant engineers are simply not aware of the key engineering differences between swimming pool and commercial type copper silver ionisation.
When it comes to Legionella control and prevention within a facility potable water distribution networks, medical, commercial or military size copper-silver ionisation technology have proven to be one of the most cost effective and reliable technology available. Yet if the wrong type of technology is installed, or if manufacturers make false claims, the installed technology can fail within a few weeks or even days. The results from failing technology can be life threating Legionella growth within the potable water distribution networks to possibly infect the occupants and cause Legionnaires’ disease.
Among the most common mistakes seen in the industry is the use of the smaller type “swimming pool” copper-silver ionisation units within facility potable water distribution networks. Unlike the commercial types, these smaller units are engineered for swimming pools or ornamental fountains. They are very affordable, yet not intended to be used in facility potable water distribution networks. Facility water management companies have reported a total application failure of swimming pool units after just a few days in operation within facility water distribution networks. These facilities, such as hospitals, hotels, schools, sport complexes and nursing homes, use larger volumes of new potable water on a daily basis.
“We have first hand experience with these swimming pool type copper silver ion generators in the UAE and they are clearly not engineered for potable water networks” said Mr. Shadi Rafeh, now certified for commercial size copper-silver ion generator in Abu Dhabi. “This is exactly why we decided to study the matter 3 years ago. We are now attempting to educate government, local consultant engineers and water industry experts on the dangers associated to swimming pool type copper silver ion generators when installed in potable water distribution networks.” Mr. Rafeh adds, “Those who are installing these smaller swimming pool units are placing the public in great danger of Legionella exposure and the risks of contracting Legionnaires’ disease.”
Mr. Chris Gauthier, a environmental legionella microbiologist with 23 years water treatment experience, confirms Mr. Rafeh’s observations. “Yes this is totally accurate and very logical. Only commercial size copper silver ion generators should be used for Legionella control and prevention within potable facility water distribution networks.” Gauthier adds; “Consultant, design and build engineers should seriously consider getting the facts on this type technology.” In his closing comments, Gauthier adds, “Swimming pool units are much more affordable that commercial size ones yet they are simply not engineered for potable water distribution networks. I’d compare it to purchasing an economy compact automobile when what you really need to do the job is an 18-wheel tractor-trailer or sometimes even a military tank for that matter. When you look at the automation and programming engineering required, only a few companies in the world currently offer medical, commercial or military grade copper silver ion generators. Some companies even claim medical grade copper silver ionisation technology yet their engineering features tells a very different story. This is why consultant engineers, facility owners and managers must get the facts and understand the very real dangers of miss-using swimming pool units within potable facility water distribution networks for Legionella control and prevention.”