Water storage tanks must be kept clean – neglected tanks and reservoirs are high risk areas for the spread of the potentially fatal Legionella bacteria and other types of bacteria which can proliferate in stagnant or contaminated conditions.
With regard to Water Storage Tank cleaning and disinfection of the water storage cisterns and water down services L8 Legionella requires that the tanks be inspected regularly and a judgement made on whether cleaning and disinfection is required. Owing to the subjective nature of this inspection many organisations now carry out routine cleaning and disinfection of their tanks and systems on an annual basis, and it appears to be becoming good practice to do so.
The onus is on the responsible person(s) and statutory duty holder and their deputies to ensure that the water is of potable quality.
Microbiological sampling for TVC’s (Total Viable Counts) and e-coli and coliforms as well as visual inspection can assist in the decision if cleaning and disinfection is required. However as we have stated this is no substitute for a properly designed system with appropriate planned preventative maintenance.
In buildings which contain a high proportion of elderly or potentially unhealthy people who are therefore more susceptible to potential pathogens than the general population, the implementation of an assessment and maintenance plan cannot be overemphasised.
ACOP L8 is a guidance note but failure to comply with it can lead to prosecution under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and COSHH.