11.03. - World Plumbing Day

Drinking water is a foodstuff and must be hygienically clean. A separation station for drinking and firefighting water is absolutely essential in this respect.

Einbau und Wartung von Überflurhydranten

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11 March 2021 Fire Safety

World Plumbing Day

March 11 has been declared World Plumbing Day by the World Plumbing Council (WPC) in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO). At first it sounds a bit curious, but the issue is very serious from a hygiene point of view and the possible consequences have never been more present than at the current pandemic time. 

The aim of today's day is to draw attention to clean pipelines for water supply and the associated hygienic or health aspects.

Richtiges Händewaschen ist einfach.

Separation stations for drinking and extinguishing water

Pipelines for water play a central role in preventive fire protection. Extinguishing water systems such as sprinkler systems or wall hydrants are usually connected to the public drinking water network. Drinking water is a foodstuff whose purity is of paramount importance. Therefore, strict separation of extinguishing water and drinking water must be ensured. Newer extinguishing water systems have a separating station, but there are still many older extinguishing water systems that do not yet have a separating station and here retrofitting or conversion is the order of the day!

Danger of contaminated water

Unlike the daily use of the faucet, the water in a fire water system stands for a long time if it is not triggered regularly for testing. The problem is that life-threatening bacteria such as Legionella can multiply well in standing water. This water can - without a separation station - flow back into the drinking water network and thus contaminate the drinking water. 

Bacteria that can result from this are Legionella, which can lead to Legionnaires' disease. According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the incidence in Germany is 1.7 diseases per 100,000 inhabitants (2018). People with weakened immune systems, with certain underlying diseases such as diabetes or chronic cardiopulmonary diseases, as well as smokers and older people aged 50 and over, are particularly affected. Men are two to three times more likely to develop the disease than women. In about 5-10% of patients, the disease is fatal.(1)

The topic is therefore to be taken absolutely seriously and especially at the current pandemic time one can well imagine the effects of a contamination of the drinking water. 

Operator is responsible

For both new and existing systems, the operator is responsible for the proper operation of a drinking water system or the separation of extinguishing and drinking water. The operator is the one who has the actual control over the operation of the system and can issue the corresponding instructions.

Check older extinguishing water systems

The German specifications Drinking Water Ordinance, the Technical Rules for Drinking Water Installations DIN1988 and the specifications for extinguishing water facilities DIN 14462 prescribe the separation of drinking water and extinguishing water. Safety equipment must be installed, this can be e.g. an extinguishing water transfer point or a filling and draining station according to DIN 14463. If you should have extinguishing water facilities like: 

  • wall hydrants, 
  • above-ground and underground hydrants, 
  • water extinguishing systems with open nozzles or 
  • sprinkler systems, 

you should check your extinguishing water system once for an existing and functioning separation station to be able to exclude that your extinguishing water system could be a potential source of danger for contaminated drinking water. We would be happy to check this for you as well or, if necessary, provide support with a separation station for drinking and extinguishing water. 

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Source: https://www.rki.de/DE/Content/Infekt/EpidBull/Merkblaetter/Ratgeber_Legionellose.html