When buildings are vacant or operating at reduced capacity for long periods of time, the water that would flow normally is left sitting stagnant in the pipes. Disease-causing microorganisms, like legionella that causes Legionnaires’ disease, can begin to grow. If using oxidizing disinfectants such as chlorine and chloramines, these disinfectants will tend to dissipate.
As we approach reactivating the economy and bringing buildings back online, some of the risks associated are not only about the growth in the distribution system but also any particulate and changes in the distribution system. This would lead to an increase in sediment, corrosion, particulate and biomass coming in through the mains, all of which can cause bacterial amplification and thus potentially lead to waterborne pathogen outbreaks.
Stagnant Water = Increases in Sediment Discoloration
As we’re trying to limit the business interruption to bring these buildings back online, we’re already seeing increases in brown water events, wholescale discoloration events and increases in the amount of microbiological activity coming into the distribution system because sediment and particulate are food and housing for bacteria.
In sediment removal and corrosion, particulate material removal from the incoming water is a significant issue that these particulates lend themselves to the growth of bacteria. They help feed bacteria and shield it from disinfection and they have a myriad of other side stream effects decreasing energy efficiency and piping systems causing damage to various components from pumps and impellers to even the material life itself. But at its core, we need to address the microbiological problem.
Preventing Damage to Infrastructure
During a year, water quality varies wildly. One of the criteria is Total Suspended Solids, or TSS, which is the dry weight of particulate in the water supply that is not dissolved. These particulates can cause valves to seize (i.e. not operate), strainers to plug (decreasing flow and pressure) and can reduce the service life of equipment, among other negatives. Often, we observe the spend of replacement facility assets to be the same or more than a system such as point of entry filtration. By installing a point of entry filter, this risk can be mitigated by capturing this “debris” before it comes into a building and wreaking havoc on the piping, valves, and other moving parts.
Self-Cleaning and Sustainable Filter
There are a lot of barrier technologies that people have attempted to use over the years, with mixed success primarily due to cartridges, bags and media filtration in general. They tend to capture a wide variety of things and concentrate them on the media.
The intent is that once the media is caked, you remove the media and throw it away and add a new one. This is very water efficient because you don’t have any sort of reject water. But you must dispose of the cartridges. And from an environmental sustainability perspective, that’s not desirable.
But worse is that organisms such as bacteria and viruses are not going to be necessarily captured in those media. They’re not designed to retain and hold on to those organisms in a free-flowing system. It ends up concentrating all the organisms that your point of entry or wherever your filter is installed, providing a little bit of heat from frictional changes localized to the media, high concentrations, and food. Lots of surface area and even some filtration media like carbon and GAC will decrease chlorine levels. This reduces the incoming disinfectant and ends up with this cocktail of things that can lead to an organism bloom inside of the unit.
Since it’s not designed to retain those organisms, it will actually introduce those into the downstream pipe work and have been known to be the causal factor in outbreaks. That whole classification of technology that LiquiTech vetted and stayed away from because there were too many risks associated with it.
The LiquiTech Solution to Filtration
We landed on a technology that is a self-cleaning, continuous filtration media that is hyper water efficient (meaning over 99% water efficient). The self-cleaning, point of entry water filtration system improves incoming water quality by removing sediment, corrosion, and biofilm deposits at the point of entry. For every hundred gallons, you only reject one gallon and does not allow for that organism growth on the media.
So not only would we hit this sustainability goal where we’re not producing a disposable media and wasting a lot of water in the process, but we’re also removing those contaminants and large particulates that limit disinfection efficiency downstream and causes damaging effects and allow for organisms to grow. Compared to traditional filtration technologies, this system can save up to 90% more water and involves far less maintenance and inspection.
Congruent with that sustainability aspect, we’ve opted for what is a stainless-steel mesh that allows us to get down to a range of 5-10ul and is a cost-effective solution. The great thing about it is its long term, sustainable aspects that immediate self can be good for over 10 years.
It’s a stainless-steel innovative paper and it’s a perfect fit for this type of application. Regarding point of entry drinking water to buildings, we have not found a better technology suited to this application.
Learn more about our Point of Entry Filter here.