April 06, 2016
The Importance of Preventative Water Maintenance
By now, most people in the United States are well aware of the water issues in Flint, Michigan. By some estimates, 10 percent of the homes tested had lead levels greater than the allowable limit. How did this come to pass, and what, if anything, can a facility due to help prevent water issues such as this?
By all accounts, the Flint water crisis, caused by a failure to install corrosion inhibitors, which led to lead from outdated water pipes flowing into the water supply, was preventable. Because the inhibitors weren't installed, the Flint River"s corrosive waters ate away at the connecting pipes, causing the lead contamination that would poison both residences and businesses throughout the city of Flint, Michigan.
The effects of the exposure to lead in drinking water have yet to be fully understood, and the citizens of the town, particularly the children, will not know the full effects for years to come. While city officials have taken steps to fix the water contamination, considerable damage has been done and problems are still ongoing.
Importance of Water Maintenance in a Facility
While proper water maintenance is important for employee and consumer health, there are also other reasons for a facility to practice good preventative and proactive maintenance measures. For starters, federal regulations and compliance standards are in place to ensure that facilities handle water properly, and failing to do so can lead to stiff fines as well as potential shutdowns or building closures. All of these can cost facilities a ton of money.
From a more practical standpoint, preventative water maintenance on systems such as water filtration units can help ensure a higher quality of processed goods (such as food) and helps keep equipment in top shape by removing harmful corrosives that can wear on machinery.
Some typical steps your facility can take to ensure that proper preventative maintenance is being performed include replacing any water filtration units on a timely basis, per manufacturer recommendations. This can include water filter cartridges or ultraviolet (UV) bulbs. Installing water quality monitoring equipment is crucial as well, as it can alert one when there is an issue with the water quality so that you can take steps to mitigate the problem.
Finally, be sure to keep a thorough record of any and all maintenance that is being performed on water systems and machinery alike. In the event that there is an issue, such as water contamination, you will need proof that your maintenance department did everything in its power to prevent water problems. In addition to needing this information for insurance and manufacturing purposes, as well as for liability, it is also great information to have on hand, as it can help you prevent such issues from occurring again in the future.
So take a lesson from history and the mistakes made in Flint, Michigan, and practice proper water maintenance so that your employees, customers, and machinery all have access to clean water!