Perfectly clean drinking water in 4 steps

Feb 1, 2018 2:00 PM

Perfectly clean drinking water is, in contrast to what is often assumed, still a challenge even in highly developed countries - and even in relatively new residential and office buildings, hotels, clinics, retirement homes, thermal spas and wellness facilities. For example, recently figures published in Switzerland show that nearly 500 people were infected with Legionella there last year, 35 percent more than in 2016. This number only includes severe cases that required medical treatment. The number of people with a mild legionella disease (Pontiac fever) that has not been reported is most likely even higher. All this can be prevented though.


According to surveys by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the number of infections has also risen in many other European countries, including Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, Sweden, Denmark and Belgium. In the US, the number of reported infections with the potentially fatal legionella disease has increased by as much as 450 percent in the past 15 years, partly explained by increased measurements and sensitivity to the issue.

GF Piping Systems is the global specialist in hygienic drinking water and has identified four key factors based on international research and in-depth field experience. They help planners, building owners and building operators to ensure a high drinking water quality.

  1. A drinking water installation that is consistently designed to reduce bacterial growth. This includes piping with surfaces that prevent biofilms and other deposits, fittings and valves without cavities and niches in which bacteria can multiply, and the consistent separation and discharge of dead pipes and unused taps. This is especially important for temporarily or seasonally used buildings such as holiday resorts or event halls.
  2. Constant monitoring of drinking water quality and water temperatures. Cold drinking water should always be below 25 °C, warm drinking water always above 50 °C (bacteria grow especially in the temperature range in between). This is often not the case when pipes are too close to each other or insufficiently insulated causing unwanted heat transfers. Of course, regular drinking water sampling and microbiological analysis are also important measures.
  3. A regular thermal or chemical disinfection of the drinking water installation, so that germs are kept low. The additional flushing of the drinking water system removes deposits and biofilms. For chemical disinfection aggressive and unpleasantly smelling chlorine dioxide, as is still common in some countries, is not necessary. Modern disinfection solutions based on sodium hypochlorite, as recommended by GF Piping Systems, are the highly effective, environmentally friendly and even drinkable alternative.
  4. A periodic risk assessment that ensures drinking water quality and optimizes energy and resource efficiency. This step includes a look at changed conditions in the building, such as a possible change in use (eg other room occupancy), but also energy costs and drinking water prices. After just a few years, this step pays off in many ways: undesirable developments - in new or wrongly used buildings often already within two to three years - can be detected and corrected early, eliminating any possible bacterial contamination immediately.

95 percent of the bacteria in a drinking water installation adheres to surfaces. The package of measures that the experts at GF Piping Systems have recommended and grouped under the name "Hycleen Concept" minimizes these risks and ensures perfectly safe drinking water over the entire lifespan of a building. Clean drinking water is a matter of health and life quality. It is also the best way for operators to avoid unnecessary costs and reputation damage and to meet the increasing expectations of legislators at an early stage. GF Piping System supports these efforts in every phase of a project.

Attila Albert

Attila Albert
Public Relations & Communication
Georg Fischer Piping Systems Ltd.
Ebnatstrasse 111
8201 Schaffhausen

attila dot albert #at# georgfischer dot com