Without regular sanitization, industrial and commercial water distribution systems run a high risk of microbial growth. For systems that have never had sanitization, microbial growth (biofilm) isn’t just a risk, it’s a certainty. And if enough time elapses and enough growth is present, the water system may be potentially beyond remediation, as it would be impossible to return the pipes to a clean state.

Biofilm forms in water systems when bacteria attach themselves to the interior walls of water pipes, and then continue to attach to each other. Over time, the colonies grow and add other microbes and substances to the mix. As more layers are added, a plaque-like coating forms inside the system, contaminating water and throwing off testing samples.

Water pipe sanitization is especially important when new plumbing is installed in buildings. Water system sanitization is also important after repairs are made to the system, which can introduce foreign contaminants.

There are a number of chemical options available for the sterilization of various types of water systems. For reverse osmosis membranes and systems, a sterilant is often used. It’s a peracetic acid solution that can serve medical, pharmaceutical, and industrial water markets. For many jobs, standard bleach or hydrogen peroxide will serve the purpose.

A non-chemical option for water sanitization is the use of Ozonators or Ozone Generators. Ozone can be used in a number of industrial water and commercial water applications and is one of the most effective technologies for biofilm mitigation. It is also an effective water sanitizing agent for high purity water systems. Potential problems with ozone, such as material or personnel exposure to ozone gas, can be controlled with proper system design. Performing regular preventive maintenance on the ozone generating and sensing equipment is key to having a trouble-free ozonated water system, and it is important to consult with experienced water system engineers to develop the proper maintenance program.

The primary advantage of ozone for water sanitization is that it can be generated or destroyed at will, making loop sanitization easy and return to service timely.  Other concerns are loop size and the need to have an ozone generating machine on site if the system is not designed with an integral system.

Another consideration in regard to water system sanitization is having conical-shaped tanks versus flat-bottomed ones. While it may only seem aesthetic at first glance, the conical tank will actually result in an easier (and cheaper) rinse phase during the water sanitization process. A flat-bottomed tank can sometimes look clean, but still contain residue. It’s usually cheaper to just replace the flat-bottomed tank with a conical one in the long run.

For more information or comments about water sanitization systems, feel free to contact our Industrial Water Solutions technical team.