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WMSoc Questions and Answers

The advice offered in this section has been drawn up in the spirit of general guidance. If there is any doubt, in any case, expert advice must be sought.

COVID-19 & Handwashing

Q1) Mobile Hot Water Hand Wash Stations

One of our customers has purchased several mobile hot water hand wash stations 20Litre. We are currently risk assessing the customers site and our main concern is that the item stores water and distributes it at 42 deg C. Could you provide some thoughts on how to best manage it?

A1)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Q2) ESGLI Guidance for Water Systems

What guidance is available for building water systems with regards to COVID-19? 

A2)

The ESCMID Study Group for Legionella Infections has issued a guidance document aimed at ensuring building water systems in healthcare and non-healthcare settings are kept safe during and following this pandemic. This includes: public residential and office buildings, commercial and industrial buildings, educational buildings in both non-residential and residential settings, hotels and other holiday premises such as campsites, cruise ships and other buildings with similar water systems.

View and Download here

Created October 2020

Q3) COVID-19 Reopening of Water Systems

What do you suggest small businesses should do to ensure water is safe before reopening their premises?

A3)

The WMSoc has produced a guidance document for small businesses which can be used to help understand the risks and appropriate actions to take following a lockdown.

Guidance for small businesses to ensure water safety when reopening following COVID-19 lockdown

Created October 2020

Calorifiers and Hot Water Systems

Q1) Calorifiers

Why is it, that the hot water secondary water always returns to the centre of the calorifier and not to the base. This would eliminate the use of de-stratification pumps.

A1)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Q2) Hot and Blended Water System Temperatures

Can you tell me the required Hot Water and Blended Water Temperatures in building systems?

A2)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Q3) Calorifiers and Water Temperatures

Please could you help? I have a client who operates a hot water system, which is pumped and reaches 50°C on the calorifier return during the week. At weekends the system heating is turned off, but water can still be drawn to outlets if there are workers on site, but these will be few in comparison to the usual workforce.

I have been asked whether this is acceptable and find it hard to judge in view of the following: -

Previous HSE guidance (L8 2000, paragraph 154) indicated that periods of less than 1 week may be acceptable, however that was in the context of a shutdown not a weekend and there is nothing equivalent in HSG274 part 2.

A3)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Q4) Calorifiers

Please could you comment on the following?

I have a client who has several older style calorifiers, which have a pumped ring main returning to the middle of the calorifiers.

Would it be acceptable to re-pipe the return water into the cold water down service feed provided non-return valves are fitted? Or should I insist that shunt pumps be fitted?

A4)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Q5) Electric Water Heaters

We have a problem in so much that when taking temperatures of small electric water heaters, the delivery temperature is often 46 - 49°C, possibly due to a recent use and insufficient time to allow the water to heat up again.

As there is no adjustment on these, how much time should be left from its last use which could have emptied it until a temperature is taken? How much under the 50°C is acceptable?

A5)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Q6) 'Fortic' and Other Combination Water Heaters

I have recently carried out a risk assessment and compiled a scheme to minimise the risk from legionella, for a housing association. The property is sheltered accommodation for the elderly where the occupants have their own flat/bedsit.

Hot water is provided in each flat/bedsit by individual Fortic tanks.

As the temperature in the cold section in each of these tanks is around 36°Cusage could be small and stratification in the hot water part of the system could occur, I have identified this as a high risk of legionella proliferation.

The landlord has asked whether these tanks could be excluded in the assessment as they are residential flats and they do not consider themselves responsible for the necessary monitoring and treatment considering the risk identified?

A6)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Q7) 'Fortic' and Other Combination Water Heaters

Would you treat the cisterns on top of "fortic" style heaters and flatbacks the same as main cold roof tanks /cisterns, regarding legionella management?

Assuming that the heater is used on a regular basis and the hot water temperature is correct would they need to be checked for cold water temp yearly (summer) etc. Invariably there is a heat transfer from hot to cold sections and correct temps in the cold tank are difficult to achieve. Is this negated by the pasteurising effect of the heating process?

A7)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Q8) Scalding

At what temperature would water scald? The personnel coming into contact with the water are people of working age.

A8)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Q9) Calorifier Vents

Could you tell me where it is written that calorifier open vents must be direct to drain via a tundish?

There is a diagram in ACoP L8 implying this but the Water Regs and the Fittings & Materials Directory have plenty showing the vent going back to the cold-water storage tank. 

A9)

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Q10) Calorifier Overflowing

I have attended a site where the overflow from the calorifiers are constantly overflowing.  The calorifiers used to be direct fired water heaters from gas but have been converted to act as provision for secondary hot water. The opinion of the site is that this problem has been occurring since this change. Would this sound plausible?

A10)

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Q11) Instantaneous Hot Water Temperatures

Can you tell me, where water is heated instantaneously like from a combination boiler or a point of use (POU) water heater, is it acceptable to have lower hot water temperatures at the outlet? If so what is the lowest temperature acceptable?

A11)

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Cleaning and Disinfection

Q1) Disinfection of Water Supply Systems

Could you please confirm if there is a British Standard or ACOP covering the disinfection or sanitisation of water supply systems?

A1)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Q2) Disinfection of Down Services

When disinfecting the down-services of a building is it acceptable practice to neutralise the chlorine and leave it in non-potable water?

A2)

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Cold Water Storage Tanks

Q1) Water Tanks and Monitoring

What are the requirements for the monitoring of water storage (header) tanks? Where do they come from?

A1)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Q2) Tank Cleanliness and Stored Water

I have recently chlorinated a development of a block of brand new apartments, which have boosted water and an 8000ltr break tank.

The developer has called me and explained that the water tank and booster system that has been recently chlorinated will not be put into full use until 3/4 weeks time.

I have explained the tank requires a regeneration of water every 24hrs.

1. While this tank is out of use would it have to be drained down?

2. Would it have to be re-chlorinated?

3. Can it stay filled but with a dose of chlorine added?

4. Can it stay filled and then put into operation in 3/4 weeks time?

A2)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Q3) Cold Water Tanks, Storage and L8

We are currently running mains fed cold water tanks serving potable water. If temperatures are not maintained to current guidance as outlined in HSG274 Part 2 what preventative measures do we take? If we are supplying non potable water from a storage tank that is mains fed what maximum temperatures are permissible? If they are not maintained what measure do we take?

A3)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Q4) Removal of Cold Water Tanks

Over the last few years we have been taking out most of the cold storage tanks from our schools where reasonably practicable. We are now wondering whether the ClO2 (which was introduced as an interim measure) should continue to be used in those schools where the tanks have been removed.

A4)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Cooling Systems

Q1) Antimicrobial Fill Packs

Are there any concerns about the use of Antimicrobial Fill Pack for Cooling Towers?

A1)

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Q2) Idle Cooling Towers

If a cooling tower or evaporative condenser is standing idle, how often should it be put into operation?

A2)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Q3) Cooling Tower Systems

Is there a concern using bromine with acidic scale control formulations?

A3)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Q4) Cooling Tower Systems

Is there a concern using bromine with non-oxidising biocides?

A4)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Q5) Cooling Tower Systems Chemical Storage

Is there a concern if drums of bromine tablets are left open?

A5)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Q6) Cooling Tower Systems Chemical Storage

Is it necessary to place chemical drums and dosing tanks in bunds?

A6)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Q7) Safety Data Sheets

How important is it to display safety data sheets in locations where chemicals are stored or used?

A7)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Q8) Cooling Tower Systems Supporting Documentation

Is it necessary to place a copy of all support documents such as the schematic diagram, safety data sheets, cooling tower registration form in a cooling tower log book?

A8)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Q9) Cooling Towers

I am H&S consultant to a company who operate a small cooling tower installed in 1987. Passage of time and changes of staff mean that the current maintenance regime is something that has been passed down by word of mouth over the years and I am concerned that the practices followed may be inadequate particularly in respect to control of legionella.

I have been unable to trace successors to the manufacturers to get advice from them. Can you make suggestions as to whom I should contact to get information that will help us to confirm that current practices are adequate or, if not, to set up appropriate treatments and records?

A9)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Q10) Removal and Decommissioning of Cooling Towers

Is there a procedure for the removal and decommissioning of cooling towers? Are there any legal aspects we need to be aware of?

A10)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Q11) Cooling Systems and the Powers of EHOs.

The Environmental Health Officer (EHO) for my area of London has requested daily visits to monitor a cooling tower on a site we maintain. Can you advise on recommendations with regard to monitoring and testing intervals? 

A11)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Q12) Biocides In Cooling Systems: Chlorine Activated Bromine Micro-Organism Control Mechanism

I have a client in the City of London where we are running a chlorine activated bromine micro-organism control mechanism.

The system has on line filtration, redox and conductivity control. Generally culture slide results are less than 1x103 and 1x104cfu/ml, consecutive months testing for legionella has not detected any contamination. Should I be dosing a secondary biocide to act as a surfactant? According to the manufacturer’s handbook, chlorine activated bromine programmes will penetrate bio film. By not dosing a secondary biocide would I be leaving myself open to criticism?

We are also dosing a product for corrosion/scale control which has dispersant properties.

A12)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Q13) Wet Scrubbers

Do you have any guidance on the control of Legionella in wet fume scrubbers used for the removal of odours?

A13)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Dead Legs

Q1) Dead-Legs

Would an unused washbasin or shower in a vacant room be a dead leg?

A1)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Q2) Dead-Legs

The water supply to feed anyexpansion tanks and closed system pressurisation units are infrequently used. What advice could you give us on the way to approach this when carrying out a Legionella Risk Assessment? Do we treat the supply to these tanks as dead legs?

A2)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Drinking Water

Q1) Direct Mains Supply

Can WMSoc supply a set of guidelines that clearly outline the tests required when having mains drinking water analysis conducted on our premises?

A1)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Q2) Tanked Water Supply Microbiological Testing

Can WMSoc supply a set of guidelines that clearly outline the tests required when having analysis conducted on drinking water supplied from a tank?

A2)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Q3) Tanked Water Testing Frequency

Can WMSoc supply a set of guidelines that clearly outline the frequency required when having analysis conducted on drinking water supplied from a tank?

A3)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Q4) Temporary Water Supply

Can WMSoc supply a set of guidelines that clearly outline the requirements when having a temporary water supply of drinking water?

A4)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Q5) Bottled Drinking Water

Can WMSoc supply a set of guidelines that clearly outline the tests required when having Bottled drinking water analysis conducted on our premises? 

A5)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Q6) Private Water Supplies

Can WMSoc please supply a set of guidelines that clearly outline the tests required when having private water supply drinking water analysis conducted on our premises? 

A6)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Legionella and Microbiological Monitoring

Q1) Legionella Sampling and Routine Monitoring

I am at present carrying out an audit on various procedures. Many of the procedures I had created over time, but the one relating to the taking of a legionella sample was derived from previous material and I do not know of its original source. I was wondering whether you know of any procedures relating to the optimum method of taking an LP sample. The main contentious area of our current procedure is the timing of the taking of the sample from the water flow. Our procedure refers to running the water flow for 2 mins.

A1)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Q2) Legionella Levels

What is the significance of finding Legionella in my domestic water system? I am told the levels detected are considered low.

A2)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Q3) Legionella and Risk in Disused Buildings

What is the significance of the risk from Legionella in disused, unoccupied or partially occupied buildings?

A3)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Q4) Legionella Monitoring

I currently have a wide cross section of commercial, industrial and local authority clients who contract us to manage their legionella control programmes. We carry out risk assessments, monitor temperatures and follow L8 guidelines as far as possible in managing their control programmes.

We also test for Legionella on a regular basis and would like to firstly reassure our clients that on domestic hot and cold water services a certain percentage of results come back positive. Our policy is to investigate each one to identify the reason behind the result. It would also be a very useful control statistic for ourselves to allow us to assess the effectiveness of our control measures compared to an industry average.

Do you have any figures on the average positive L.pneumophila sero group 1 (or Legionella species in general) as a percentage of samples submitted to laboratories in the UK?

A4)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Q5) TVC levels

A UKAS accredited laboratory has informed me that there are no definitive limits for TVC levels. However, previous guidance figures of 100 @ 22°C & 20 @ 37°C for ‘water in bottles or containers’ are sometimes offered as a guide. Is this correct? What actions would you recommend be undertaken, on the hot and cold water systems and associated storage vessels, if the test results show levels that exceed the above (e.g. 2400 at 22°C & 3840 at 37°C)?

A5)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Legislation and Guidance

Q1) Pipework Labelling

Please can you provide details-regulations on the correct labelling of pipework

e.g.  for Hot water, cold water, storage tanks, non-drinking water and drinking water etc.

A1)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Q2) The Irish L8

Is there an equivalent to L8 in use in Ireland?

A2)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Multi-occupancy Buildings

Q1) Towel Rails

I have a question regarding a residential block of some 75 flats, currently served by two massive calorifiers that are now well past their sell by date, it is our intention to replace these with direct fired hot water generators. The system currently includes towel rails that are connected to the open hot water system. We have been advised that the towel rail should not be connected to the water system and that this is in accordance with currently imposed regulations. I have been through the regulations and cannot find any reference to this claim. Can you help?

 

A1)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Q2) Council/Housing Associations & Legionella Risk Assessment

Should all properties under the control of Council Housing Associations (2500 domestic dwellings in one case) have a legionella risk assessment carried out?

Also what monitoring regime should be initiated (if any) for the water systems within these properties?

There is a mixture of multi occupancy flats with communal storage tanks and calorifiers, individual houses with their own tanks and calorifiers, and flats/houses with mains fed cold water services.

A2)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Q3) Retirement Development

The interpretation and application of the ACOP L8 in retired development and private dwellings is becoming something of a trial to all concerned and I would appreciate clear guidelines.

We live in a retirement development of 38 flats. Each living is independent of the other. Each flat with its own tank and water supply, and each heating their water supply as required; what are the guidelines for a monitoring regime for the water systems within these properties?

A3)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Q4) Multi-Occupancy – Private Residential Flats with Communal Cold Water Tanks

I am the chairman of the Management Committee of a block of privately owned residential flats. The building is made up of three side-by-side blocks, seven stories high. On the roof we have six tank rooms containing water tanks that hold over 2000 litres each, fed from the mains supply. Our Managing Agent has told me that because we are the representatives of the Owner and we are supplying water to each of the 55 flats within the blocks, legislation demands that we have a Legionella risk assessment programme. Mains water is also fed directly to each flat.

We have had a survey and risk analysis done, but the company who carried it out are suggesting that we should include temperature checks on all water taps within all the flats every six months. We believe that this far exceeds our responsibility and is largely motivated by commercial factors.

I would greatly appreciate some guidance on what we are obliged to do, bearing in mind that we are only responsible for the supply of cold water to residents.

A4)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Q5) Multi-Occupancy Buildings Centralised Hot Water

In a high-rise block of flats with a centralised hot water system, how many hot water taps should be checked and how often? Gaining access to private dwellings is proving difficult, due to being seen as intrusion.

A5)

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Q6) Multi-Occupancy Buildings with Individual Hot Water

In a high-rise block of flats with individual hot water systems in each flat, how many hot water taps should be checked and how often? 

A6)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Refurbishment

Q1) Refurbishment of Accommodation Block

We are refurbishing a large accommodation block, which has been empty for a number of months.

The refurbishment will include the stripping out of plumbing, heating, showers, tanks etc.

What tests do you feel are required to check for legionella prior to work commencing (if any) and what precautions should be taken during the work.

A1)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Residential Care Homes

Q1) Regulations and Guidance

What are the relevant Regulations and Guidance for Residential Care Homes?

A1)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Q2) Hot Water Temperatures in Care Homes

What hot water temperatures do I need achieve in a Care Home I am responsible for?

A2)

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Q3) Care Homes and Dip Slides

Is water testing for legionella or with dipslides necessary or desirable in a care home of the elderly?

A3)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Q4) Care Home Hot Water Systems

A Care Home has been advised to keep water temperature down to 43-44°C at the hot taps, to prevent scalding. The owner is aware that water must be stored at 60°C and recirculated at 55°C to minimise potential problems with Legionella in the pipework between any temperature control valve and the outlet(s). How does he reconcile the apparent differences in demands?

A4)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Q5) Healthcare Calorifiers

Can you confirm that hot water storage vessels (calorifiers) should remain on at all times in healthcare premises? 

A5)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Q6) Labelling of Pipework

Please can you provide details-regulations on the correct labelling of pipes  (hot water, cold water, storage tanks, non-drinking water and drinking water etc.) on the following premises?

  1. Nursing homes
  2. Residential homes
  3. Care homes
  4. Sports facilities
  5. Offices
  6. Hotels

A6)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.

Responsibilities

Q1) The Responsible Person

When looking to draw up a management structure recently the following question arose. Where a Council has delegated the management of its Housing stock to an ALMO Organisation, who becomes the responsible person the Council or the Almo (outsourced facilities management company), and if it is the Council is there a need for a named individual to take ultimate responsibility?

A1)

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Risk Assessment & The Written Scheme

Q1) Risk Assessment of Outside Taps etc.

We have had our main buildings risk assessed for legionella but I am not sure if such items as outside taps, standpipes in our parks and gardens, isolated sinks in stores which have mains fed hot water heater, etc need to be risk assessed.

A1)

Answers compiled from the experience of the WMSoc technical committee are available available to water management society members. To become a member and receive all the benefits of the water management society please click here.