Point of Use Filtration: A Requirement for a Water Safety Management Plan

Point of Use Filters (POU) is frequently a missed portion of Water Safety Management Plans (WSMP) and needs be part of the Contingency Response Plan. They are the one method that can be immediately installed to providing a last line of defense against many waterborne pathogens before patients could be exposed Legionella, Pseudomonas and other live threating bacteria.

Why Do Point of Use Filters Matter?

Facilities can use POU filters regularly in areas where the most vulnerable patients are receiving treatment for lung disease, weak immune systems, diabetes, cancer, or in units like organ and bone marrow transplant, Neonatal and ICU with at risk populations. Even facilities with a secondary chemical water treatment system should consider POU filters as an extra level of protection in areas where the most vulnerable patients are housed in a facility. Having a supply of POU filters on hand should be part of Contingency Response Plan if or when the water in the facility’s potable system tests positive for high levels of Legionella, Pseudomonas or other pathogens. They can alleviate the need water restrictions while limiting disruption in the daily operation of a facility.

The Department of Veterans Affairs, VHA Directive 1061 states “Point-of-use filters may be installed at specific outlets to prevent Legionella exposure to patients. This method may be of particular use in areas that treat high-risk patients.” 1061 also mentions that POU filters can be used in preventing the passage of Legionella bacteria, other specific microorganisms, and particle contaminants present in water for ice machines, and drinking fountains.

Chemical solutions are effective in limiting Legionella, Pseudomonas and other pathogens from both cooling towers and plumbing systems. When injected into water systems, they are designed to kill pathogens and penetrate biofilm where pathogens can live and reproduce. But chemical systems add more chemicals to the water, which might not be healthy for people. Furthermore, chemical disinfectants may not reach dead legs or low water flow areas and can dissipate as they move through a plumbing system making them less effective at distant points in the plumbing system. Secondary chemical water treatments also shorten the life of the pipes within the plumbing.

Conclusion

AquaMedix believes Point of Use filters should be a part of every facility’s Water Safety Management Plan; as a prevention element for patients with immunocompromised systems in the areas where they are housed. At the same time an adequate supply of POU filters are on hand for contingency actions should Legionella bacteria or water borne pathogens be detected above acceptable levels in facility’s potable water system.

Disclaimer

AquaMedix produces and markets point of use (POU) and InLine filters to remove Legionella, Pseudomonas and waterborne pathogens from potable water systems. They are:

  • Tested to ASTM Standard for 99.99999% (>log7) reduction of bacteria in water
  • A maximum filter membrane life of 90 days for POU filters and up to 6 month for InLine filters
  • Have standard NPT plumbing connections with ready to install or built in pre-filtration solutions if needed
  • Are designed to look like conventional faucets and shower heads
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