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Key Info for Potable Water 1), 2) & 3)

1)      WHO Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality 4th Edition

http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/publications/2011/dwq_guidelines/en/    (download)   Guideline Chapter 2, 2.2 Page 22 explains the concept of Water Safety Plans

 [/i.e.  (2.2)Water safety plans.  Overall control of the microbial and chemical quality of drinking-water requires the development of management plans that, when implemented, provide the basis for system protection and process control to ensure that numbers of pathogens and concentrations of chemicals present a negligible risk to public health and that water is acceptable to consumers. The management plans developed by water suppliers are WSPs. A WSP comprises system assessment and design, operational monitoring and management plans, including documentation and communication. The elements of a WSP build on the multiple-barrier principle, the principles of hazard analysis and critical control points and other systematic management approaches. The plans should address all aspects of the drinking-water supply and focus on the control of abstraction, treatment and delivery of drinking-water. Many drinking-water supplies provide adequate safe drinking-water in the absence of formalized WSPs. Major benefits of developing and implementing a WSP for these supplies include the systematic and detailed assessment and prioritization of hazards, the operational monitoring of barriers or control measures and improved documentation. In addition, a WSP provides for an organized and structured system to minimize the chance of failure through oversight or lapse of management and for contingency plans to respond to system failures or unforeseen events that may have an impact on water quality, such as increasing severe droughts, heavy rainfall or flood events.]

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The above Guideline for drinking water quality is applied to ships in the following Ship Sanitation Guide:

2)      The Rolling Revision of the 2011 Ship Sanitation Guide Section 2.4 Page 16,   http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/hygiene/ships/en/guidetoshipsanitation.pdf?ua=1   2.4 Water Safety Plans.  

The GDWQ are intended to cover a broad range of water supplies and are not specifically targeted towards ships. Therefore, in drawing from their guidance the specific context of the port and the ship needs to be taken into consideration. Nonetheless, the overall approach promoted involving the development and implementation of a Water Safety Plan (WSP) is just as relevant to ships and ports as to any other water supply situation. The WSP draws from the hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) approach applied as part of food safety programs (FSP) as described in Chapter 3 of this Guide. Although recognised as flawed, there has been an undue emphasis in assuring the safety of water on board ships through sampling of the end product. The detection of contaminants in both source water and water delivered to passengers and crew is often slow, complex and costly. Sampling can only verify that the water was safe when tested by which time it may have been consumed. It is not suitable for early warning or control purposes. In contrast, the new WSP approach is intended place the emphasis on preventing contaminated water reaching consumers by monitoring processes and practices. The objective is to detect possible contamination in time to enable correction to prevent suspect water being consumed. End-product testing then becomes more of a verification activity. The WSP comprises three essential actions, which are the responsibility of the ship owner and ship master. These are: • System assessment and hazard analysis; • Management plan and control measures; and • Monitoring and corrective action system in accordance with that plan.

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This Guideline is then applied by the issuing bodies for the SSC (Ship Sanitation Certificate) as outlined in the handbook for inspection of ships and issuance of Ship Sanitation Certificates which requires a document review incorporating a WSP (Water Safety Plan).

3)      “Handbook for Inspection of Ships and Issuance of Ship Sanitation Certificates”, World Health Organisation 2011, http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2011/9789241548199_eng.pdf?ua=1

Page 93 and 95.Page 93 Document review

Constructional drawings of potable water system.

Drinking-water analysis reports.

Medical logbook or gastrointestinal record book (or both).

Water safety plan. Maintenance instructions of treatment devices. Page 95   9.1

Other Key References:

  1. WHO IHR (2005) International Health Regulations:
  2. MLC 2006 – MLC-2006 came into force on 20 August 2013 – MLC Regulations.
  3. Food and catering Regulation 3.2
  4. Handbook for inspection of ships and issuance of ship sanitation certificates
  5. —EC Directive 2009/13/EC & Merchant Shipping (Provisions and Water) Regulations 1989 (S.I.1989/102).
  6. —ILO International Labour Organization
  7. —WHO 2011 3rd Addition Guide to ship sanitation
  8. MGN 397 Guidelines for the Provision of Food and Fresh Water on Merchant Ships and Fishing Vessels   See below for MGN 525 which supercedes this.
  9. MGN 525 Guidelines for the Provision of Food and Fresh Water on Merchant Ships and Fishing Vessels
  10. Legionaires’ Disease on board ship – what you need to know
                     Why should vessels be concerned about Legionella?     (source 2016  PHA – UK Port Health Authority)

Legionnaires’ disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia. If infected between 10-30% of people die unless treated early and quickly.

There are approximately 200-250 cases of Legionella infection annually in the UK and around 12% of these prove fatal. Half are associated with foreign travel and the rest with cooling towers and hot & cold water systems in hotels, hospitals, factories, residential homes, ships, spa baths etc.

What are the signs & symptoms?

The symptoms include a flu-like illness, followed by a dry cough which frequently progresses to pneumonia. Approximately 30% of people infected may have diarrhoea and vomiting and 50% may show signs of mental confusion. The incubation period is from 2-10 days.

Who is at higher risk?

Men more than women, people over 50, smokers, alcoholics, diabetics, people with a chronic underlying disease and/or a weakened immune system.

Where is Legionella found?

Legionella bacteria are widespread in natural sources of water including rivers, streams and ponds and may even be found in soil. It has never been isolated in salt water so vessels that make all their potable water by evaporation or reverse osmosis have a lower risk of the bacteria being present. They are significant when found in man made recirculating and hot and cold water systems

How can Legionella be contracted?

Only when water contaminated with Legionella bacteria becomes aerosolised so that it can be inhaled does it pose a risk to health.

For example:

  • When having a shower
  • When running sink taps when using a hot spa tub
  • Warm moist air circulated by air conditioning, heating units & humidifiers
  • When using fire hoses (if fresh water is used)
  • Washing down the hold super structure (if freshwater is used)

To drink water contaminated with Legionella bacteria will NOT cause you to be infected and there has been no evidence of person-to-person transmission.

What do we need to do?

Assess the water systems of the vessel and identify any risk areas. Remove or reduce possible sources of contamination through risk assessment, routine maintenance and regular cleaning, to reduce the chance of infection.

YOU REDUCE THE CHANCE OF INFECTION

   Questions to ask yourself!

  1. Is the hot water boiler temperature hot enough to ensure temperatures of above 50°C or below 20°C are achieved at all outlets ?
  2. Have I ensured hot cold pipes are insulated and do not affect one another?
  3. Have I identified any other risk factors and corrected them?
  4. Have I identified all ‘dead ends’ within the hot cold water system and removed them?
  5. Have I reduced the risk on board the vessel?

If you have answered ‘YES’ to all the questions above you should have successfully reduced the risk of Legionella being present on board the vessel.

What practical measures should be taken?

Assess the water systems of the vessel and identify all risk areas.

  1. Study the hot & cold water system plans and identify all water outlet points and in particular those that are rarely used ‘dead legs’, any potential ‘blind ends’ (blanked off pipes where the water cannot circulate) or long pipe runs.
  2. Check the water temperature of ALL hot & cold water points, i.e taps, showers, hoses.
  • hot water should reach >50°C within 1 min. and cold water 20°C or less within 2 mins
  • the boiler output temperature must be above 60°C and the return not less than 5°C lower than the output temperature
  • the hot supply must be greater than 50°C at the outlets
  • the cold supply must be less than 20°C at the outlets
  1. Check what actual cleaning, maintenance and disinfection routines are in place on the vessel at present.
  2. Assess and identify ALL points where water could be made into an aerosol and breathed in by the crew, passengers & visitors.
  3. Document your findings so that the information can be included in the planned maintenance or ISM procedures which can be referred to by any Master or responsible officer.

An ideal vessel at least risk is one where the temperature readings are satisfactory, you have no ‘dead ends’, the ‘dead legs’ are used frequently, the vessel makes all its potable water by evaporation or reverse osmosis, and cleaning & disinfection procedures are in place.

The condensed water from the air conditioning should flow to waste and not to a tank for reuse.

Any pressure washers used should be regularly drained and disinfected.

Any water features (Fountains) and hot spa baths must be regularly cleaned and disinfected.

What cleaning and maintenance procedures should be implemented?

The minimum recommended requirements are as follows:

  1. The hot water boiler outlet temperature must be greater than 60°C
  2. Dismantle, inspect, clean and soak the shower heads and pipework for a few hours at least once every 3 months in a disinfectant/chlorine solution. Remove any sediment, algae or calcified deposits found.
  3. Locate and eliminate all ‘blind ends’ and ‘dead legs’.
  4. Super chlorinate the fresh water tanks twice a year and flush the water through all outlet points ‘dead legs’.
  5. Any crew or passenger cabin that has been out of use for 2-4 weeks must have tall outlets flushed and have the shower head and hose cleaned and soaked in a chlorine solution prior to the cabin being used.
  6. Have the water bacteriologically tested if you find hot & cold water temperatures are outside those recommended.

What are the signs & symptoms?

The symptoms include a flu-like illness, followed by a dry cough which frequently progresses to pneumonia. Approximately 30% of people infected may have diarrhoea and vomiting and 50% may show signs of mental confusion. The incubation period is from 2-10 days.

Who is at higher risk?

Men more than women, people over 50, smokers, alcoholics, diabetics, people with a chronic underlying disease and/or a weakened immune system.

Where is Legionella found?

Legionella bacteria are widespread in natural sources of water including rivers, streams and ponds and may even be found in soil. It has never been isolated in salt water so vessels that make all their potable water by evaporation or reverse osmosis have a lower risk of the bacteria being present. They are significant when found in man made recirculating and hot and cold water systems

How can Legionella be contracted?

Only when water contaminated with Legionella bacteria becomes aerosolised so that it can be inhaled does it pose a risk to health.

For example:

  • When having a shower
  • When running sink taps when using a hot spa tub
  • Warm moist air circulated by air conditioning, heating units & humidifiers
  • When using fire hoses (if fresh water is used)
  • Washing down the hold super structure (if freshwater is used)

To drink water contaminated with Legionella bacteria will NOT cause you to be infected and there has been no evidence of person-to-person transmission.

What do we need to do?

Assess the water systems of the vessel and identify any risk areas. Remove or reduce possible sources of contamination through risk assessment, routine maintenance and regular cleaning, to reduce the chance of infection.

YOU REDUCE THE CHANCE OF INFECTION

Questions to ask yourself

  • Is the hot water boiler temperature hot enough to ensure temperatures of above 50°C or below 20°C are achieved at all outlets ?
  • Have I ensured hot cold pipes are insulated and do not affect one another?
  • Have I identified any other risk factors and corrected them?
  • Have I identified all ‘dead ends’ within the hot cold water system and removed them?
  • Have I reduced the risk on board the vessel?

If you have answered ‘YES’ to all the questions above you should have successfully reduced the risk of Legionella being present on board the vessel.

What practical measures should be taken?

Assess the water systems of the vessel and identify all risk areas.

  1. Study the hot & cold water system plans and identify all water outlet points and in particular those that are rarely used ‘dead legs’, any potential ‘blind ends’ (blanked off pipes where the water cannot circulate) or long pipe runs.
  2. Check the water temperature of ALL hot & cold water points, i.e taps, showers, hoses.
  • hot water should reach >50°C within 1 min. and cold water 20°C or less within 2 mins
  • the boiler output temperature must be above 60°C and the return not less than 5°C lower than the output temperature
  • the hot supply must be greater than 50°C at the outlets
  • the cold supply must be less than 20°C at the outlets
  1. Check what actual cleaning, maintenance and disinfection routines are in place on the vessel at present.
  2. Assess and identify ALL points where water could be made into an aerosol and breathed in by the crew, passengers & visitors.
  3. Document your findings so that the information can be included in the planned maintenance or ISM procedures which can be referred to by any Master or responsible officer.

An ideal vessel at least risk is one where the temperature readings are satisfactory, you have no ‘dead ends’, the ‘dead legs’ are used frequently, the vessel makes all its potable water by evaporation or reverse osmosis, and cleaning & disinfection procedures are in place.

The condensed water from the air conditioning should flow to waste and not to a tank for reuse.

Any pressure washers used should be regularly drained and disinfected.

Any water features (Fountains) and hot spa baths must be regularly cleaned and disinfected.

What cleaning and maintenance procedures should be implemented?

The minimum recommended requirements are as follows:

  1. The hot water boiler outlet temperature must be greater than 60°C
  2. Dismantle, inspect, clean and soak the shower heads and pipework for a few hours at least once every 3 months in a disinfectant/chlorine solution. Remove any sediment, algae or calcified deposits found.
  3. Locate and eliminate all ‘blind ends’ and ‘dead legs’.
  4. Super chlorinate the fresh water tanks twice a year and flush the water through all outlet points ‘dead legs’.
  5. Any crew or passenger cabin that has been out of use for 2-4 weeks must have tall outlets flushed and have the shower head and hose cleaned and soaked in a chlorine solution prior to the cabin being used.
  6. Have the water bacteriologically tested if you find hot & cold water temperatures are outside those recommended.
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