Adequate drainage and sanitation is one of the cornerstones on which a developed society is built. The ability to quickly and safely remove waste water is vital to not only to human health but the environment as well.
It takes a surprisingly small amount of infectious material to contaminate water sources and eco systems and sustainable drainage systems are crucial to ensuring all habitats – human and otherwise – are protected.
With a global population growing at such a rate that it is expected to exceed 7.7 billion by 2020 and 8.1 billion by 2025, the strain on the drainage and sanitation will only increase.
Blockages and contaminated drains will start to impact on more and more people with an increasing level of severity – purely through volume alone.
The impact we as individuals or organisations can make on improving a worsening issue is limited but still worthwhile.
However, maintaining your drainage system doesn’t just make good environmental sense, it makes good business sense too.
Blockages, most notably in a clinical setting, are expensive, time consuming problems to resolve with far reaching and often severe consequences for clinicians and patients alike.
Frustratingly they are also – broadly speaking – preventable.
Of course in a hospital there is only so much influence you can exert over your patients and nothing can prevent an unruly child from deliberately clogging a toilet with paper but there are ways to relieve strain elsewhere.
1. Drain Health
Regular assessments on the overall health of your drainage networks help you to identify where pipes are aged, showing signs of compromise or have become inadequate for the weight of flow passing through them.
Most hospital drainage systems are designed deliberately to be incomplete to allow for expansion over time. This can mean seals and caps can weaken over time. This presents major issues as foul water seeping into the soil and foundations not only poses a risk to the environment but to the building itself and everyone in it.
Specialist services exist to carry out a full audit and mapping of your drainage system.
2. Don’t overload your Bedpan Washers or Pulp Macerators
Although your sluice/dirty utility room machinery is designed to work tirelessly to quickly and safely dispose of infectious material, overloading your bedpan washers or placing the wrong things in your pulp macerator – like non-maceratable aprons or gloves – is more or less guaranteed to damage the machine but will clog the drains and cause flooding in the sluice/dirty utility room as well.
The inconvenience of an additional wash cycle or having to dispose of gloves elsewhere is nothing compared to the problems caused by a sluice/dirty utility room rendered out of commission through mistreatment and blockage.
The fallout from damaged machinery and a flooded sluice/dirty utility room is measured in both budget and lives. It goes without saying that the potential for a major outbreak from a flooded sluice/dirty utility room is significant and exponentially increases over time.
Regular maintenance will also help to identify potential problems before they happen, keeping your machinery at peak efficiency, significantly reducing the chances of component failure or spotting problems before they occur.
3. Use the right cleaning solutions
There are only a handful of chemicals that are legally allowed to be flushed down drains. The reasons for this are quite simple:
- a) They need to be easy to remove during water treatment or safe to consume when diluted down when the treated water enters circulation.
- b) They can damage pipes or leave behind residue that can compromise the pipe or cause blockages over time.
Making sure that your facility uses the correct cleaning chemicals at all stages of its disinfection/infection control processes is vital to maintaining healthy drains.
Our own Hygenex range is specially formulated to supplement the disposal process of bedpan washers and pulp macerators but to also effectively disinfect machinery whilst minimising unwelcome odours.
Combined with the pre and post disposal wash cycles, the drains are fed with a steady flow of water to prevent blockages and avoid potentially problematic chemical build up.
Diligence and the best possible solutions for infection control aren’t the only ways to keep your drains blockage free. Although knowing that you can limit the impact your sluice/dirty utility rooms have on the drainage system, whilst minimising the spread of infectious disease is an easy decision to make.