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UV Water Treatment vs Bacteria and Viruses – All You Need to Know

Wednesday, 31 July 2019 09:03:10 Europe/London

One of the greatest concerns that any business faces when providing beverages of any kind for staff or customers is hygiene. Inadequate standards of hygiene can have a catastrophic effect on both individuals and companies. For the most part, this is limited to a few upset tummies and a visit from Environmental Health. But in some terribly upsetting cases, waterborne bacteria and viruses in professional equipment have led to deaths. No business can ever recover from that. Few would want to.

We often associate poor hygiene in food and drink with dirt. We expect it to be visible to the naked eye. Maybe characterised by mould or obvious decay. But the truth is that the most harmful bacteria are often totally invisible. They go untreated because out of sight is literally out of mind. And that’s where problems start. Especially in the case of equipment such as water coolers, where to all appearances the dispensers look perfectly clean.

So, what do you do? It all sounds a little bit scary. But maintaining hygiene standards in water coolers and other drinking equipment is easily done. Especially with the use of a UV steriliser. Bacteria microscope

What is UV sterilisation?

Ultraviolet has been used in large-scale water sanitation for around 75 years. In many countries it is used as an alternative to chlorination – its one truly major benefit being that it removes the need of adding chemicals to water. It doesn’t work for everything. It is not, for example, recommended for the treatment of water where faecal coliform is present in high numbers… But if you have faecal anything in your drinking water you have bigger issues to worry about anyway! And it can help with some of the other significant contaminates.

UV water sterilisers are now available for small-scale water dispensers, including water coolers, drinking fountains and bottle fillers.

What does UV sterilisation target?

UV can be used to cleanse water of all sorts of unwelcome additions, from basic mould to some of the most frequently found bacteria. These include Cryptosporidium, E. coli, Giardia and Legionella; some of the most common waterborne contaminates. They are also some of the most harmful.

UV sterilisation and Legionella

Legionella has a sort of fearful mystique about it. Largely because it can be impossible to know if your equipment is spreading it. Until about 50 years ago, no one knew what caused ‘Legionnaire’s Disease’, let alone how to treat it. Although things have advanced since the 1970s, the bacteria that causes the problems, Legionella, is still known as ‘the invisible killer’. There are more than 50 different species of Legionella. And if it gets into the human body it can be deadly.

The good news is that although carried in water, Legionella is usually only dangerous if airborne. The bacteria work upon the lungs and respiratory system, so need to be inhaled – perhaps via a contaminated air-conditioning unit, or even in the shower – to cause serious illness. To that end, the NHS state that you cannot usually contract legionella by drinking water containing the bacteria. The main issue here would be if you choked while drinking, accidentally inhaling the bacteria.

So, while Legionella may not be an urgent concern when it comes to your water cooler, it is still worth taking precautions. And UV exposure can kill Legionella almost instantly. Within just a few seconds the bacteria is destroyed, leaving water safe for all. And because no chemicals have been used to clean it, the water will taste and smell exactly as it should do. Water cooler with with an inbuilt LED UV sterilisation system

How do UV water sterilisers work?

UV is basically a type of radiation. When bacteria – or other unwanted microbes – is directly exposed to a concentrated dosage, it is damaged at a cellular level. This stops the bacteria from reproducing, which is what prevents it from being dangerous. This cleans the water without impacting on taste or odour. 

Are there any other benefits to UV light water treatment?

Apart from its efficacy, one of the primary attractions of UV water treatment is that it’s cost-effective. Perhaps counterintuitively, it uses a very small amount of power. So, after the initial modest expense, you’re paying very little.

The units are also very easy to install and require minor maintenance other than cleaning to ensure clarity.

It’s also chemical-free, safe, reliable and environmentally friendly. All major plus points. The only thing that can stop a UV filter from working effectively is if water contains a high number of ‘suspended solids’ – waste particles – as these prevent the UV from passing through the fluid effectively. But this is highly unlikely to be the case in the UK. Especially not if your water dispenser is filtered.

With the demand for public water dispensers growing, more and more companies are looking for convenient, efficient, cost-effective solutions for their workspaces. And ease of maintenance is often high on the list of concerns. But for many, internal hygiene is only an after-thought when it should be a priority. A UV steriliser is the perfect solution for handling a very important problem.

Scotland Continues to Top Up from the Tap

Saturday, 30 March 2019 07:30:00 Europe/London

Scotland Continues to Top Up from the Tap

Scotland is officially one of the wettest places in Europe. Glasgow is fourth on the European city rainfall list. So, when you think of selling water to Scotland, you’d be forgiven for making analogies relating to Eskimos and ice. You might be surprised to learn then, that Scottish Water has recently invested in doing just that! Only, they’re not selling water as such, more the concept and the culture of it…

Working with MIW Water Cooler Experts, Scottish Water has started the installation of 35 new water refill stations across Scotland. In providing free drinking water in selected high-footfall locations across the country, the organisation is promoting a refill culture that everyone can get behind.

Top Up from the Tap in Scotland

From the end of the West Highland Way in Fort William, to the front of Edinburgh’s Parliament Building, where the first installation took place in 2018, Halsey Taylor water refill stations have been appearing. They are weather-proof, vandal-resistant and easy to use. And they’ve been designed for low-maintenance longevity, with in-built strainers for water quality and silver-ion antimicrobial coating for hygiene. Each one has also been customised to display Scottish Water’s messaging, and to track the unit’s usage. The idea is that if enough people use them, reducing the number of single-use 500ml water bottles purchased and discarded in the areas around these refill points, more businesses and organisations will be encouraged to get on board. And the more free drinking water points become available, the more people will use them.

But why should this matter?

Every Little Thing Makes a Small Difference

This is the strapline of Scottish Water’s environmental policy. And it’s a good one, because everyone really can make a difference when it comes to the environment. Particularly the environmental disaster that is waste plastic. And all of these little differences can meld together to create an enormous impact.

Each Scottish household generates more than a tonne of waste every year. Much of it isn’t recycled – even though it could be. If we all start using refillable drinks bottles and topping up from the tap rather than purchasing plastic bottles on the go, it could make a world of difference. Not just in cutting the amount of waste that goes into the environment – which is the key focus just now, and rightly so. But also, in cutting the emissions that are released in plastic’s production. Oh, not to mention cutting the amount of cash coming out of each person’s pocket. It’s a win-win-win situation.

So far, MIW has worked on 10 installations for Scottish Water. We’ve worked closely with our global partner Elkay, who manufacture the Halsey Taylor bottle fillers, ensuring that the project is delivered on budget and on time. And it’s been great to see the enthusiasm with which each bottle filling station has been welcomed by the locals. Now, we can’t wait to get started on the remaining 25 locations that will take us to the highlands and islands, as well as the beautiful mainland. So, get ready to drink your fill Scotland; MIW and Scottish Water are on the way!

The Recycling-Microplastic Conundrum

Monday, 3 December 2018 07:00:00 Europe/London

The Recycling-Microplastic Conundrum

I read an intriguing piece of news the other day. High street retailer, John Lewis, has started making towels from recycled plastic bottles[EH1] . How interesting, I thought. What a good idea. And how clever. But then I got to thinking that maybe it’s not that much of a good idea after all…

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Comments | Posted in MIW News Hydration and Health Advice By Olivia Winter

Simply the Best: Choosing the Best Water Bottle Refill Station for Your Business

Water bottle refill stations are fast becoming the must-have item for all eco-conscious businesses. They’re a great way to provide an additional service to your customers – and staff – while quietly showcasing the fact that your business is environmentally-aware. But, with so many makes and models now available, how do you know which is the best one for you?

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The Importance of Plastic Reduction

Monday, 19 November 2018 07:00:00 Europe/London

The Importance of Plastic Reduction

I saw a really interesting infographic the other day. It was by an American website, detailing the impact that plastic has on our planet. Now, I consider myself pretty up on these things, but the some of the statistics highlighted are frankly scary.

Did you know, for example, that every year America produces enough plastic film to shrink wrap the entire state of Texas?  That’s 268,820 square miles! And cling film is notoriously unrecyclable.

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Comments | Posted in MIW News Hydration and Health Advice By Olivia Winter

Top of the Class – The Most Popular Bottle Filler for Schools

Monday, 12 November 2018 07:00:00 Europe/London

Top of the Class – The Most Popular Bottle Filler for Schools

We work with a lot of schools at MIW Water Cooler Expert. Over the years, we’ve installed thousands of drinking water solutions. And if there’s one thing that we’ve learnt, it’s that schools, colleges and universities have very specific needs. And while there’s still room for the traditional stop and slurp drinking fountains, they don’t cater for every demographic. Teenage girls, for example, aren’t overly keen on having to wipe their chins are every drink! And yet, while bottle fillers are growing in popularity, not everyone carries a bottle on them, or wants to add to the weight of the textbooks and tech dragging at their shoulders with a sloshing drinks bottle in their bag.

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Liquidating Liverpool Street Station… With Two Water Refill Stations

Monday, 5 November 2018 07:00:00 Europe/London

Liquidating Liverpool Street Station… With Two Water Refill Stations

All this year, the MIW team has been working with the London Mayor’s Office and the #OneLess campaign to facilitate the London Refill Project (LRP). The aim is the installation of 50 water bottle refill stations in high footfall areas around the capital, in a drive to reduce the purchase of single-use plastic drinks bottles. MIW’s role is the donation and installation of the refill units. So far, it’s been a really exciting project to be involved with.

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Plastic Waste? Britain’s Packing It

Sunday, 28 October 2018 16:43:33 Europe/London

Plastic Waste? Britain’s Packing It

It’s always nice when you read reports on pollution and see that the UK is meeting its targets. We’ve reached the stage where [almost] everyone knows what pollution is, and what it means for the environment and the creatures that live in it – including us. So it’s reassuring when you see statistics that show that we’re doing our bit as a country. It makes that annoying extra big green wheelie bin filling up the garden feel less of an encumbrance.

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Comments | Posted in MIW News Hydration and Health Advice By Olivia Winter

Flat-Packing the Plastic Problem – IKEA Join Sustainability Movement

Thursday, 25 October 2018 07:00:00 Europe/London

Flat-Packing the Plastic Problem – IKEA Join Sustainability Movement

When you first start getting interested in a cause, such as cutting back on waste plastic, it can feel a bit like a pipe dream. Yeah, of course it would be nice if we could stop plastic clogging our rivers and oceans, and of course it would be amazing if big business got on board, but realistically, it’s never going to happen. And then it does. And a domino effect takes place, where one after the other, businesses, institutions and governments do their bits, and you see that it’s actually making a difference. This is why, today, I am writing about IKEA.

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Comments | Posted in MIW News Hydration and Health Advice By Olivia Winter

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