Ensuring Safe Drinking Water in the Hospitality Industry
By Arnaud Andreolli Product Manager Building Technology, GF Piping Systems | December 2023
Within the hospitality sector, the quality of drinking water assumes paramount importance, especially when it comes to safeguarding the health of vulnerable individuals.
The nexus between contaminated water and health risks is particularly concerning in hospitality settings.
These environments often host at risk individuals, such as the elderly or young families in hotels and restaurants.
Contaminated water can contain a multitude of bacteria which, when inhaled, pose considerable health risks. For the elderly, weakened immune systems or smokers amplify these risks, potentially leading to severe illnesses. In family-oriented establishments, children with developing immune systems are especially susceptible, potentially turning a pleasant vacation into a health ordeal.
Furthermore, immunocompromised guests face even graver consequences, as waterborne infections can be life-threatening. Keeping drinking water clean in a building can be quite a challenge. The cold water that comes from the municipal water network enters the building and travels through a maze of small pipes for a long time, often at warmer temperatures. This setup is like an open invitation for certain bacteria, like Legionella and Pseudomonas, to thrive, and that can pose a threat to human health.
To maintain the quality of drinking water within a building, it's crucial to ensure that hot water from the boiler remains at a temperature of 60°C, with no sustained drop below 55°C in the building's distribution and hot water circulation. In contrast, cold water temperature should not consistently exceed 25°C anywhere in the building. This is because between 25°C and 50°C, various harmful and potentially lethal microorganisms, such as legionella and pseudomonas, can proliferate. Extended water stagnation within this temperature range can also promote their growth, along with the formation of biofilms in the piping system, amplifying long-term hygiene risks. Therefore, water should not remain stagnant in the pipes for more than 72 hours. This is why hotels must act on this issue. In hotel rooms, there can be gaps longer than 72 hours between guests, and that can lead to water quality issues.