Category Archives: Viqua

How the ongoing global pandemic drives Legionella concerns

Even before COVID-19, Legionella had the distinction of being one of the leading water- borne disease agents in the USA, with reported cases growing more than 5-fold from 2000-2017 (CDC). But now, as COVID-19 and stagnant water due to building closures collide, the threat increases.

What is Legionella?

Legionella bacteria occur naturally in warm, freshwater environments, like lakes and streams. They become problematic to health when they grow in plumbing systems, particularly where biofilm has developed on pipe walls, and then spread as water is distributed throughout the building. To cause infection, Legionella must be aspirated making showerheads, water fountains, cooling towers, and, less commonly, taps and drinking fountains points of contamination. In high risk populations, Legionella infection can cause a serious type of pneumonia. The simplest way to prevent infections is to keep Legionella out of building water systems.

Ultraviolet (UV) disinfection is a proven solution for preventing Legionella contamination of building water systems, and is suitable for:

  • Hospitals and healthcare facilities
  • Schools
  • Office and commercial buildings
  • Homes

We're here to help. Ask us what kind of UV system is best for your needs.

UV can be applied at the point-of-entry as a complementary disinfection barrier for the whole building or at point-of-use for high risk areas within a plumbing system. Different species of Legionella require different UV dose levels for inactivation. However, in general, required doses are low and well within the operating parameters of our range of UV systems.

Legionella Species 3-log 4-log 5-log
Legionella Bozemanii 3.5 mJ/cm2 4.7 mJ/cm2 5.83 mJ/cm2
Legionella dumoffi 5.5 mJ/cm2 7.33 mJ/cm2 9.17 mJ/cm2
Legionella gormanii 4.9 mJ/cm2 6.55 mJ/cm2 8.17 mJ/cm2
Legionella micdadei 3.1 mJ/cm2 4.13 mJ/cm2 5.17 mJ/cm2
Legionella longbeachae
(found in potting soil)
2.9 mJ/cm2
Legionella pneumophila
(legionnaires disease)
3.8 mJ/cm2 5.1 mJ/cm2 6.33 mJ/cm2
Legionella interrogans
(infectious jaundice)
6.0 mJ/cm2

Controlling Legionella

Routine Legionella testing is not common in the operation and maintenance of many building water systems, with the exception of hospitals and healthcare facilities. But, given the extensive shutdowns and low-level use and occupancy of so many buildings, including schools and offices, testing is strongly encouraged. Where Legionella is detected, the corrective actions include disinfection (thermal or hyper-chlorination) and flushing, followed by repeat testing. UV disinfection can then be employed to avoid re-inoculation of the plumbing system.


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UV water treatment for “brain-eating” amoeba (N. fowleri)

The role of any public water treatment facility, be it city, town, or municipality, is to deliver water to your home that is fit for drinking. Point-of-entry water treatment in your home, like an ultraviolet (UV) disinfection system, provides an additional barrier to ensure the quality of water at every tap in the home and for every purpose.

Why every tap matters

Naegleria fowleri is an amoeba, or single-celled living organism which causes a serious brain infection called primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) that, while very rare, is often fatal. Consuming water contaminated with N. fowleri is not an issue as it is destroyed by stomach acid. Instead, it enters the body through the nose where it then migrates to the brain via the olfactory nerve. Since the organism is normally found in warm waters, infections are most often associated with swimming/diving in recreational waters – but not always! Cases have been linked to contaminated tap water entering the nose during nasal rinsing such as with a neti pot. Accidental exposures to N. fowleri, especially involving children, are also possible where the head is immersed in contaminated water or contaminated water goes up the nose during:

  • Bathing or showering;
  • Swimming in “kiddie pools” filled with tap water;
  • Unsupervised play with outdoor hose bibs or sprinklers.

Where does N. fowleri occur?

Incidents of N. fowleri being detected in North American water distribution systems have only occurred in the warm climates of Louisiana (2013) and Texas (2020). However, cases of PAM have been reported in a wider geography including 15 southern states, as well as Minnesota, Kansas, and Indiana. No water distribution system is immune to pipe breaks or pressure fluctuations that could allow an environmental contaminant like N. fowleri access. If the water temperature is warm and disinfectant levels are low, it could colonize and put water users at risk.

How to treat for Naegleria fowleri

In implementing water treatment for N. fowleri the goal should be a 4-log reduction of the cysts. UV disinfection is a chemical-free approach that will not alter the taste or odour of the water. Trojan Technologies provides a range of UV systems to meet the needs of homes, businesses or public water systems. Learn more about our brands here.

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Water Quality Concerns When Reopening Your Business

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many business closed their facilities. As regions are now reopening, business owners should be thinking about something they may not have had to give a lot of thought to before: the water quality in their buildings.

If your business has experienced low, or no water flow conditions in your building due to a shutdown, you should be exercising caution in re-opening regarding your water.

According to the U.S. EPA, the COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking water supplies at this time and treatment plants have continued to operate and meet the same water standards as always.

This includes the use of residual disinfectant levels in order to inhibit microbial growth in transit. However, even under normal circumstances, the residual disinfectant typically dissipates in a matter of days or weeks.

We're here to help. Ask us what kind of UV system is best for your needs.

Water Quality in Your Building May be Stagnant & Degraded

Since many businesses have closed their facilities for weeks or even months at a time, the quality of water in service lines to commercial buildings and within those buildings may have degraded and become stagnant.

This significantly increases the risk from opportunistic pathogens like Legionella, some Mycobacteria and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Growth of non-pathogenic organisms could also impact the taste or smell of a water supply.

This is of particular concern where water use produces aerosols, such as:

  • Showers in gyms, fitness facilities and recreational buildings
  • Showers in hotels, motels and B&Bs
  • Taps in hair salons, barber shops and restaurants
  • Even simple toilet flushing
VIQUA VH410 Home Stainless Steel Ultraviolet Water Disinfection System

VIQUA VH410 UV Water Disinfection System

4 Top Water Tips for Business Owners

1. Understand what actions were taken to bring the building back into service, e.g., flushing, chlorination, etc.

2. Engage a plumber and/or water treatment professional to service/clean the water treatment equipment within your control.

3. Communicate with employees and customers about actions taken.

4. Consider installing a point-of-entry ultraviolet (UV) treatment to minimize risk now and mitigate stagnant water problems in the future.

After the flushing and disinfecting of the plumbing, your business can now create its own “water ecosystem”.

Any subsequent reopenings resulting from COVID-19 or even a boil water advisory will be made simpler and more convenient with your UV system already installed.

Further Things to Keep in Mind for Your Reopening

It takes a concerted effort at every level to prepare businesses from a safe water perspective. Utilities, public health authorities, engineers, building owners, plumbers, water treatment professionals and business owners may all need to be involved.

Key Advantages of UV Disinfection

As mentioned above, installing UV water disinfection system will provide a disinfection barrier to minimize risk now and mitigate future stagnant water problems.

  • UV is a chemical-free, environmentally-friendly process, that adds nothing to the water and will not change taste or odor of the water.
  • Requires no transportation, storage or handling of toxic or corrosive chemicals.
  • Highly effective at inactivating a broad range of microorganisms – including chlorine-resistant pathogens like Cryptosporidium and Giardia.

Tips for Building Owners

  • Contact your government environmental public health departments for advice about building water safety
  • Work with qualified professionals to bring all building services, including water and sewer, back online
  • Communicate information provided by the health department to your building occupants

Tips for Water Treatment Professionals

  • Try to engage building owners before water services are brought back online
  • Protect water treatment equipment from further contamination during service line and plumbing flushes
  • Perform proper flushing, cleaning, sanitizing and servicing of water treatment systems

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Let us help you understand how to leverage UV to minimize stagnant water risks going forward.

Simply fill out the form below.


Further Resources and References

¹ Building Owner Resources

² Water Treatment Professional Resources

³ Business Owner Resources

RES’EAU WaterNET – Community Circle Approach to First Nations Water Challenges

Trojan Technologies  is dedicated to improving the health of our global environment. We achieve this, in part, by paying close attention to our social, environmental and ethical responsibilities at the community level, as strong communities are the building blocks to a better future.

In Canada alone, over six million people rely on small and rural water systems for drinking water. Globally, this number stretches to 2.5 billion people.

In addition to being remotely located, small water treatment systems are often under resourced, making it difficult to install systems, especially if they require highly trained operators. The result is an increased risk of illness from drinking inadequately treated water and a high number of Boil Water Advisories.

boil water advisory sign

To help tackle this situation,  in 2008 Trojan Technologies began a partnership with RES’EAU WaterNET, a collaborative research program that is part of Canada’s Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC).

RES’EAU is Canada’s first and only collaborative research initiative devoted to meeting clean water demands in small, rural communities.

RES’EAU aims to protect the health of small, rural, and First Nations communities by producing game-changing water treatment solutions, based on the development and deployment of appropriate technologies and community stakeholder involvement.

The Community Circle Approach

In 2013, RES’EAU began a five-year, $7 million program to refine and expand upon its community-centric, impact-focused research programs – otherwise, known as Community Circles. There are currently six community circles located across British Columbia, each focused on addressing the specific needs of the community.

Adapted from First Nations’ traditional approaches, Community Circles are real-life environments where communities, government agencies, researchers and other relevant partners co-create solutions to water challenges.

Dr. Bill Cairns, PhD, Chief Scientist Emeritus, Trojan Technologies, and Chair of the Board for RES’EAU, states:

“In First Nations communities, historically everyone must buy into a solution before it is implemented. This is especially important when dealing with water treatment technologies as water has cultural and historic relevance to First Nations Communities, and new technologies may require new thinking and acceptance.”

At RES’EAU, this inclusiveness manifests directly in the research process by putting stakeholders from the communities at the heart of the innovation cycle, incorporating research insights at the early stages of development.

It is through RES’EAU’s engaging community circle approach that the community, researchers, and others involved are able to determine what solutions are best suited for each community, measuring success not only by technological advancement, but also by a community and social achievement.

The RES’EAU Pilot Trailer

In addition to Dr. Cairn’s participation with the board, Trojan has been involved in a variety of projects and research initiatives with RES’EAU, including helping to launch their first mobile pilot trailer (through the provision of equipment from  VIQUA, a Trojan Technologies business based in Guelph, Ontario).

res'eau mobile pilot trailer

The mobile unit is used as a convenient way to make different technologies, including UV, available to individual communities and their water treatment system operators. This ultimately helps everyone involved become aware of various technologies’ operational details, and demonstrates the technologies’ performance on the water qualities encountered in different communities.

Utilizing UV technology, as well as filtration and ion exchange, the mobile unit is able directly to evaluate various technological process options that could resolve a community’s water problems and protect community health.

Along with the mobile unit, VIQUA is also involved in a pilot study examining the effectiveness of Point of Entry (POE) water treatment in First Nation communities.  POE treatment systems may be an option for small and remote communities where central treatment is not affordable.   VIQUA not only aids in supplying the UV system for this pilot, but also plays a large role in the research component of the work.

RES’EAU & UV

UV technology has been an integral part of the research process at RES’EAU since day one. In addition to UV’s ability to inactivate pathogenic organisms and meet water disinfection standards, UV technology is often more culturally acceptable and/or more practical to operate than chemical disinfection technologies such as chlorination. The added benefit is that no disinfection by-products are generated with the use of UV, whereas significant by-products can result with the use of chlorine. In addition, in many remote communities, shipping in chemicals such as chlorine can be problematic.

By first understanding the needs of the community, solutions that meet both the technological and social definition of success have been derived. This model of problem-solving has led to international recognition in research communities, and has the potential to be adopted globally in addressing the problems of small and remote communities

The work of RES’EAU WaterNET is another important reminder of how success in the water industry will come only from multidisciplinary engagement. The Community Circle Approach demonstrates the importance of prioritizing communication with all stakeholders, and it is this holistic approach to research that leads to meaningful and sustainable results.

Singapore International Water Week 2016 (SIWW)

SIWW 2016 is the Global Platform to Share and Co-create Innovative Water Solutions.

Trojan Businesses Aquafine, TrojanUV and Viqua will unite during Singapore International Water Week, July 10 – 14, at Hall B2, Stand C18. Together, we’re building water confidence throughout the world.

Aquafine logo

Aquafine’s UV technologies are trusted in many industries – including food and beverage, microelectronics, pharmaceutical, power generation and aquaculture. With over 150,000 installaions across 80 countries, we are ready to help you with your water treatment needs. >> see more

trojanuv
At the show, TrojanUV will have a spotlight on Wastewater Disinfection & Reuse and the TrojanUVSigna, which is now available in 2,4 and 6-row configurations. TrojanUVSigna incorporates advanced innovations to reduce the total cost of ownership and simplify operation and maintenance. It’s ideal for treatment plants needing to add disinfection or wanting to replace chlorine. >> see more

VIQUA - Simply Safe Water

Providing UV disinfection systems for home and small businesses. >> see more

Aquatech Amsterdam

Aquatech AmsterdamThis year at Aquatech Amsterdam Trojan Technologies will have five of our businesses at the show:

  • Aquafine Corporation,
  • OpenCEL
  • Salsnes Filter
  • TrojanUV
  • VIQUA

If you’re attending the event, please stop by to visit us.
Hope to see you in Amsterdam!

November 5 – 8, 2013
Amsterdam
Stand # 03.208

Aquatech Website