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Water Cooler Sanitisation

Water Cooler Sanitisation

The water that is dispensed from a properly maintained and sensibly used water cooler should be of the same quality as the water before it enters the cooler or filter. To put it another way, the Water Cooler should not contribute in any way the microbiological content of the water.

How often should a water cooler be sanitised?

EPDWA guidelines state that all bottled water coolers should be sanitised on a quarterly basis and mains-connected coolers should be sanitised and filters replaced 6-monthly. After the recommended sanitisation period has elapsed water quality will begin to deteriorate, although the water will still be fit for consumption.

Why do we need to sanitise water coolers?

Sanitisation is the cleaning and sterilisation of the water contact parts of a water cooler and especially the tap mechanism. It is designed to remove biofilm and other bacterial matter from the Water Cooler. Biofilm is organic matter which contains bacteria and can build up on the water contact surfaces of both bottled and plumbed-in water coolers.

In bottled water coolers, the main sources for contamination is when bottles are loaded/unloaded or from careless tap handling.

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How can I minimise the contamination of water

Bottled Water Coolers
  • Always, always, always remove the label on the top of the bottle cap. If this is not removed, the label will be pushed into the bottle along with any dust, dirt and the reseal valve.
  • Ensure that the bottles of water are not exposed to direct sunlight and are stored in a cool chemical-free area. Bottle covers and rack covers are available if necessary.
  • When changing a water bottle, dry and clean the bayonet and bayonet well with a peroxide spray or special cooler wipe and do likewise with the bottle cap.
  • Cooler taps should be cleaned on a regular basis. A cooler wipe can be used although a peroxide based spray is ideal as it can be sprayed right up into the mechanism. No flushing is necessary as only traces of the peroxide spray remain and is harmless if consumed whilst alcohol in the wipes soon disappears.
  • Do not allow anybody with a stomach upset to change bottles or clean the cooler parts. Anyone who changes a bottle or cleans taps should clean and dry hands first. If possible, try to obtain a water cooler that has recessed dispensers thus avoiding the possibility of contamination from hands.
Plumbed-in Water coolers

As mentioned above with regards to Dispense tap sanitisation.

A work of caution!!

We have had a small number of clients approach us as they have, as part of their normal health and safety processes, had their mains and water cooler water tested for microbiological content or Total Viable Count (TVC). The chlorinated water coming from your mains taps will usually have a TVC count of less than 100 cfu per ml. The TVC of water dispensed from a bottled or mains-fed water cooler is likely to be significantly higher due to the lack of chlorine. This does not normally mean that it is unsafe to drink, indeed a recent TVC count of 10,000 from an On-Tap client, was considered by the EPDWA’s resident.