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5 Steps To A Better Water Management Plan

Proper water treatment is crucial to many industrial applications. From heating and cooling systems to mining operations, making sure that your process water is safe, useable, and regulatory-friendly is vital to the longevity of your business. To ensure that your water meets regulatory standards, it’s beneficial for many facilities to employ a water management plan.

When implemented correctly, water management plans have several benefits for companies and workers alike, including:

  • Increased system performance
  • Higher water efficiencies
  • Easier regulatory compliance
  • Safer facilities
  • Better company image

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In addition to the above, water management plans help to prevent the spread of Legionnaires’ Disease. With Legionnaires’ Disease on the rise and regulatory agencies cracking down, it’s important now more than ever to make sure that your water treatment is up to code.

What is a Water Management Plan?

The point of a water management plan is to take a strategic approach to water treatment. While high-quality chemicals and mechanical filtration methods are critical to keeping your water safe and usable, these tools are only as good as the strategy behind them.

Water management plans will show your current water usage and any areas that you can improve upon. Water efficiencies, conservation improvements, and water-reduction goals are all part of a good water management plan.

Water management plans will also help identify any hazardous conditions throughout your facility so that you can take actionable steps to mitigate or eliminate any issues. These plans are especially useful at minimizing the growth and spread of harmful Legionella and other waterborne pathogens that can spread throughout your process water.

What is Legionnaires’ Disease?

Born from the Legionella bacteria, Legionnaires’ disease is a form of pneumonia or severe lung inflammation caused by an injection. People are primarily exposed to this fatal disease by inhaling microscopic water droplets that contain the bacteria.

Ever since we discovered Legionnaires’ disease back in the late 1970s, cases have been on the rise. In 2018, health organizations reported more than 6,000 cases of Legionnaires’ disease in the US alone, with the CDC estimating that the actual number of cases was far higher than what was reported.

While legionellae exist naturally in bodies of water like rivers, lakes, and streams, they are relatively harmless in these natural states. Only in certain situations can the bacteria flourish enough to pose a significant health risk.

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Experts believe that industrial water systems and water supplies are some of the biggest hotspots for the spread of Legionnaires’ disease. Past outbreaks were linked to:

  • Facility mist machines
  • Cooling towers
  • Industrial and commercial water systems
  • Swimming pools and cruise ship hot tubs

How do I Implement a Water Management Plan?

With the right strategy, implementing a water management plan can be a seamless way to improve your facility’s water treatment. Here are the steps to take if you want to start one today:

1. Conduct a Site Survey

Before you begin creating a water management plan, you should conduct a site survey of all of your facilities and water systems. This will help you to determine if you need a proper plan in the first place.

Questions to ask to help determine if you need a water management plan include:

  • Do I have a cooling tower?
  • Do I have a centralized hot water system?
  • Are any of my buildings more than 10 stories (including basement levels)?
  • Do I have a centrally installed mister, atomizer, air washer, or humidifier?
  • Do I have any decorative fountains, swimming pools, or hot tubs that aren’t drained between each use?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, you need a water management plan. Start by collecting water samples and cost data to determine a proper baseline of your current situation. You can use that baseline to calculate cost savings and determine your overall water reduction potential and efficiency opportunities.

By conducting a site survey, you will also identify any risks for harmful legionellae.

2. Identify Applications/Buildings That are Most at Risk

While every one of your water systems should be analyzed and monitored if a water management plan is deemed necessary, some buildings and applications will have greater risks associated with them. These points should be your primary targets for your water management plan.

For any devices or buildings that aren’t at as high of a risk, you should still maintain them according to building codes or manufacturer recommendations.

3. Build a Water Management Team

Your water management team will both design your plan and make sure that it is implemented properly. Water management teams are typically comprised of key members of your facility, device operators and managers, water treatment reps, and in-house designers or outside vendors.

Everyone on the team will play a key role in implementing remediation and long-term monitoring.

4. Develop the Water Management Plan

Once you’ve identified areas to improve and know what devices and buildings hold the biggest opportunity for safety and efficiency gains, it’s time to develop the actual plan.

This will involve both the strategies and operational improvements to better your water treatment, as well as determining your monitoring points. You will want to build your water management plan around:

  • Priority projects based on targeted end uses
  • Projected dates for installing efficiency and safety measures
  • Projected annual water use
  • Potential capital and funding sources

5. Monitor Results and Measure Progress

Even after your plan is developed and put into place, your work isn’t done. Water management plans are a part of a long-term commitment to better water quality and require ongoing efforts from you and your team.

You’ll want to monitor and report on water use and efficiencies, as well as regularly conduct legionellae screening and test for microbial deposits. Everything should stay within approved ranges that you determine when developing your water management plan.

If any value falls outside of your acceptable range, you should conduct the proper remediation procedures. Consider including water emergency and drought contingency plans as well as what to do in the case of an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease.

Develop Your Water Management Plan with ChemREADY

Here at ChemREADY, we have the chemical and water treatment expertise and chemical products required to help you manage the water systems throughout your facilities. Contact us today to learn more about how we’ve helped others to put a comprehensive water management plan in place.