What does the inside of the water storage tank look like in your workplace?
One thing businesses maintenance managers sometimes overlook is the regular checking of commercial water tanks or storage tanks. If a regime has not been put in place which has resulted in the habitual checking of these tanks then it can get missed.
If you are responsible for a building where members of the public or employees come into contact with water then you are most likely responsible for a site which contains some form of legionella risk and requirement for regular testing and inspections.
This does not necessarily have to be a large building, even outbuildings, toilet blocks, changing rooms and other smaller buildings can be a location which carry risks associated with the storage and presence of water.
You can see your responsibilities regarding cold water storage tank safety and inspections here, ensuring you comply with ACoP L8 legislation. It is also worth checking out your responsibilities for water heater and hot water units here.
It is worth considering if tanks have not been cleaned and treated for some time, also where does this water go? How often does the water held in the storage tank get used? If a tank is heavily soiled and contaminated with sediment it is a sign that it is probably overdue treatment, cleaning and a risk assessment. Heat sources from neighbouring rooms can also cause stored water to rise in temperature – creating better breeding conditions for legionella and other water-based bacteria. Restaurants and food outlets should be mindful of water storage units and tanks which feed spray pot or glass washers, as these can also cause an aerosol.
Many premises have small back rooms which become little more than storage areas. This is often true of retail premises where rooms with storage tanks, sinks and pipework become impromptu storage or stock rooms.
If the water is used only periodically it could constitute a higher risk in terms of legionella. Sometimes water storage tanks in one room can feed sinks which have a spray head which again creates a risk of an aerosol. This in turn creates further legionella risk when it comes into contact with humans who use the water.